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Greece meets “Turkish occupation of land in Evros” with nonchalance

Athens submitted a demarche, a protest note, to Ankara over “the issue at a point of southern Evros the occasion of the change of the riverbed” diplomatic sources told media on Friday evening, without mentioning what exactly “the issue” at the land border between the two countries was.

“The issue” in question has been that a group of Turkish soldiers marched and occupied a small piece of land, some 1. hectares, on the east bank of the Evros River in Melissokomeio, near the village of Ferres.

According to local media, the Turkish presence are 15 men, five members of the military police and ten from the army. And this happened two weeks ago.

They set up a tent, hanged a small Turkish flag on a tree and change shifts.

They have rejected Greek demands to leave the area.

According to armyvoice that exclusively reported about “the issue” on Thursday, the Turkish side has persistently refused to present the information it invokes when it claims that it is Turkish territory and has ruled out any discussion on the issue.”

At the end of the “issue”, Turkish soldiers remain on a part of land that belongs to Greece, also on Friday.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias did not mention the word “occupation” when he spoke about ‘the issue.” He said instead that he was not about to create tension for “a few dozens meters” of land.

” I don’t like to create tension between two countries that are allies. There could be measurements and a joint committee to solve such issues. We speak of a few dozens of meters,

I hope we reach an understanding. There is a matter of a dispute of the exact border, due to changes in the river’s banks. […]. I don’t like to create tensions between the two countries, which are allies. […] The appropriate measurements can be made and these things can be resolved in a joint committee. We’re talking about a few dozen meters,” Dendias  told state broadcaster ERA FM on May 20.

Greece seems to avoid tension on “the issue” due to the sensitive aspects of the matter and to avoid creating the impression that it is discussing issues that suggest possible border disputes with Ankara.

For Greece the only issue to solve with Ankara is the one of the continental shelf and nothing else.

Melissokomeio is located at a point of Evros river that floods every year in winter and dies up in summer, creating an islet there.

On maps of 1923 when the Lausanne Treaty between the two countries was signed, this part of the river is shown as belonging to Greece.

The Foreign Ministry’s nonchalant attitude backfired, though, and the boomerang id not come from the Turkish side but rather from “friendly fire.”

Ex foreign minister Nikos Kotzias posted on his social media account that “Turkey has occupied Greek territory in Evros.” He warned that “they [New Democracy] are submissive, irrelevant and dangerous. And that comes at a high cost to the country, its national sovereignty and its territorial integrity.”

Also KINΑL fired its shots, with MP Andreas Loverdos, a former diplomat at the Foreign Ministry, to accuse ND of “either innocence or ease of adaptation to Turkish policies.”  In any case, Dendias statements, “are not an expression of the Greek foreign policy,” the MP said.

Maybe Athens follows the German model of belated reaction. Berlin submitted a protest note to Ankara on Friday, for the shots at German Frontex border guards in Evros in April.

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One comment

  1. Remember Neville Chamberlaine? He was gutless as well!!! Where has the Greek spirit gone? The way Turkey is behaving is like a spoilt child and needs a good slap!