Greek forces stay alert at border after Turkey is forced to pull migrants back

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Greek forces stay alert at border after Turkey is forced to pull migrants back10,000 refugees and migrants sent to the border with Greece

KASTANIES, Greece – After Turkey withdrew some 10,000 refugees and migrants sent to the border with Greece, failing to get them across after Greek riot police and Army units blocked them, Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos went there and said vigilance would remain high.

Panagiotopoulos said that “the State of Emergency has not ended,” said Kathimerini, after touring the area around the Kastanies crossing near the treacherous Evros River, where many refugees and migrants in the past near five years had drowned trying to get to Greece.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, breaking the terms of an already essentially-suspended 201 swap deal with the European Union under which he was supposed to contain some 5.5 million refugees who had gone to his country, sent masses to the border.

That was after the death of 33 Turkish soldiers in an area of northern Syria they had invaded, making him fear that more refugees from that country’s civil war would flood Turkey, which is already holding 3.3 million of them, along with 2.2 million from other countries.

He went to Brussels to try to revise the terms of the deal, asking for the release of 3 billion euros ($3.29 billion) from a 6-billion euro ($6.58 billion) pledge in the deal and as the European Union has not yet granted visa-free travel to Turkish citizens nor accelerated accession talks to the bloc for Turkey.

“We are back at the Kastanies border post in order to assess the situation,” Panagiotopoulos said after being briefed by the chief of the National Defense General Staff, Konstantinos Floros, the paper said.

“We also have the opportunity to talk with the leadership of the armed forces and the Hellenic Police on the local level, with the people who carried out their mission of guarding the border, of managing to maintain their impregnability from the surprise push of Clean Monday, and, of course, to plan our next moves,” Panagiotopoulos added.

Chrysochoidis said the visit was intended to show that Greece’s Armed Forces, police, the European border agency Frontex and security forces from other EU countries sent to bolster the Greece border – which is the bloc’s outer edge – would repeal any more attempts to get refugees and migrants across, although they still are being sent to Greek islands and that a fence there would be extended further.

“We are at the beating heart of European solidarity,” he said, applauding the support of other countries, some of whom reneged on pledges to help take some of the overloads from Greece, which is holding about 100,000, including 42,000 on islands near Turkey.

The EU had closed its border to them, dumping the problem mostly on Greece in the midst of an economic and austerity crisis, the country beginning to recover faster before the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic hit.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Ggia

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