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Greece deploys hundreds of policemen to Evros as tension with Turkey rises

Greece is deploying 300 to 400 officers from across the country to Evros river at the land border with Turkey to bolster local forces. These officers are members of riot police, crime combating units and border guards who will patrol mainly in Ferres, the Ardas river and in Tychero.

At the same time, controls with cameras the Greek Police has at is disposal and can “see” at a depth of 12 meters are expedited to intensify.

It is planned that 100 Frontex officers/border guards will remain in the area until July 6, while – most likely – an extension of their presence will be requested.

Tension between two tow countries increased in the last couple of weeks, when Greece started to extend the fence along the borders, Turkey asked for the coordinates. At the same time, media reported that a group of Turkish soldiers had occupied an islet formed after withdrawal of the waters in the Evros river in the Greek territory.

In an effort to create disputable “grey zones” in Evros, Turkey said a technical committee should be formed to solve the issue. and illegally claimed that “a fait-accompli at our borders will under no circumstances be tolerated.”

In a statement the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that “in spite of our warnings and proposals of cooperation, Greece initiated land-levelling activities on 13 May 2020 and violated our contractual land border. This violation was immediately intercepted by our relevant authorities through the necessary measures.”

Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, said that some “mobility was observed” in the area, however, he rejected the reports about “occupation of Greek territory.”

In an interview with daily kathimerini on Tuesday, Dendias said that the extension of the border fence along the Evros River will continue and will be completed.

Referring to an exchange of demarches between Greece and Turkey a few days ago, he stressed that “borders are a given. They do not change and they cannot change.”

He said the issue arose after Turkey lodged a demarche seeking information from Greece on the coordinates for the construction of the fence extension. The demarche also asked that both countries come to an understanding on the issue.

Athens, Dendias said, rejected the Turkish request with a demarche of its own, “as what we do within the limits of our national sovereignty is our prerogative and responsibility and we are not obliged to account to anyone.

Greece has repeatedly stated that “the border line is marked by the Treaty of Lausanne and the 1926 Protocol, it is recognized and there is no doubt”,

Yet, Turkey is illegally claiming an area of ​​about 1.6 hectares on the river Evros, due to the change in the flow of the river and the decline of the water level.

Furthermore, Ankara has reiterated its threats that it will allow migrants to leave for Europe. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a Turkish TV channel that “migrants are waiting to move to Europe as soon as the pandemic is over.” He added “I don;t say that as a threat.”

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