Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called an emergency meeting of key government officials as hundreds of migrants and refugees were attempting to push through the country’s border with Turkey in a bid to reach the European Union on Friday.
The premier has summoned the ministers of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, Citizens’ Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis and Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos, the chief of the army’s general staff, Konstantinos Floros, representatives of the coast guard and other officials to his office at the Maximos Mansion on Saturday morning.
He called the meeting amid reports that some 1,200 refugees and migrants were gathered on the Turkish side of the border and were trying to push through the Kastanies crossing. Dozens more, meanwhile, were reported as having reached Greece by boat on Friday
Earlier on Friday, Mitsotakis held telephone conversations with several key European leaders to brief them on the ongoing situation. He spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and the prime minister of Bulgaria, which has also stepped up measures on its borders, Boyko Borisov.
Patrols along the land and river border in northeastern Evros have been bolstered since Friday morning, when the first large groups of migrants began to arrive following an announcement on Thursday night by a Turkish government official saying that Ankara would no longer try to prevent Syrians fleeing war in their country from attempting the crossing to the European Union.
The army has also dispatched two commando units to help the Hellenic Police guards at the border, and particularly to patrol the more dangerous sections of the Evros River.
Similar efforts are taking place to tighten security along Greece’s sea border with Turkey, including the dispatch of several navy vessels.