What Should Greece’s Role Be in the Syrian Refugee Crisis?

History is repeating itself at Europe’s border, as migrants are desperately trying to make their way from Turkey into Greece. Many of these migrants come from Syria, where airstrikes have caused civilians to flee their country. Greek Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis joins Christiane to discuss his country’s role in the crisis.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: And yet, of course, we’re talking about human lives, we’re talking about children who are dying because they’re freezing to death in the cold. My colleague from the BBC, Jeremy Bowen, who’s on the Greek- Turkey border has tweeted pictures and the following, as you think about your bed or your children’s, imagine being one of these kids, refugees from the wars of Syria and Iraq, they’re without shelter, sleeping in the open tonight like thousands of others near Turkish border with Greece, their parents were close by worried sick. So, you know, you’re Europe. You are trying, as your prime minister says, to defend Europe’s external border, but these are human beings who have nowhere to go and nobody to lobby for them. We understand that the European Union has now pledged an extra 700, I think, million dollars — or euros to Turkey for humanitarian reasons. What do you do when these desperate people come to you for help?

GIORGOS GERAPETRITIS, GREEK STATE MINISTER: To tell you the truth, Christiane, more than anyone else, it has been Greeks who have been really compassionate about this crisis and about these — and about those children. In spite of the fact that we had an imminent and tremendous financial crisis in the last 10 years, it has been Greece that stood up and really, really supported all families coming to Greece, especially coming to the islands of Eastern Aegean. On the other hand, I have to say that it is not to the benefit of the families that we have this sort of massive circulation of people. Because with those families, with those suffering, truly, genuinely suffering from war or from other mankind disasters, we also have a great number of people who are coming just to have an attack, a hybrid attack against the sovereignty of state. I have to mention, Christiane, that among the people who have been entering illegally in Greece, there have been people who were just get out of prison, just in order to be able to come to Greece. So, yes, we provide full assistance. And yesterday — I have to state this, yesterday, the Council of Ministers of the European Union decided that there is going to be a wider protection for the unaccompanied children. As you probably know, it is only Greece at the moment who is protecting, to the extent possible, the unaccompanied minors. But the other European states have now expressed their respect to actually receive some of those children. But on the other hand, we have to discern those in true need from those who are here just to make troubles on the borders.

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Greek State Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis discusses the role of Greek forces at the border between Syria and Turkey. Vali Nasr and Susan Glasser explain what the world can expect following negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban. New York state senator Peter Harckham opens up about his battle with addiction and how it influences his work combating the opioid crisis.