NEWS

Greek border guards on standby for possible mass push by migrants assisted by Turkey

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Migration, Turkey

The Greek Police (ELAS) is concerned about a possible mass push by undocumented migrants at the Turkish land border, assisted by Turkish officials, Kathimerini understands.

ELAS' worries stem from witness accounts by both police and armed forces officers according to which Turkish forces have opened up a road parallel to the banks of the River Evros to help migrants pass.

One of the scenarios being examined involves Turkish authorities attempting to catch Greek border guards by surprise by transferring migrants en masse, possibly with the use of buses, as had occurred at the onset of the crisis at Kastanies. 

The Greek police's fears are being fuelled by reports that, along with the opening up of a road along the river bank, large tree trunks have been transferred to the spot which, it is feared, could be used by migrants as makeshift rafts in their attempts to cross the river.

Concerns peaked in the early hours of Tuesday after it emerged that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had not reached an agreement with European officials in Brussels.

Greek officials were given clear orders to push back any attempt at a mass push by migrants while high-ranking officers have asked border guards to take additional measures to protect themselves. 

Authorities are also on standby for the potential abduction of a member of ELAS or the armed forces to avert a stiaution resembling that in 2018 when two Greek soldiers were detained for five months after straying across the land border. 

ELAS has sent members of its elite special forces team EKAM to the Turkish land border after determining that Turkish forces on patrol their are heavily armed and use night vision goggles and laser target locators.

 

Online