The European border protection agency Frontex expects a new wave of migrants seeking to cross the Turkish border will arrive once Ankara lifts coronavirus restrictions, German newspaper Die Welt reports.
The German newspaper cited an internal report of the EU border agency, revealing that the easing of restrictions in the provinces of Canakkale, Istanbul and Izmir is expected to trigger large clusters of migrants to move towards the Evros border.
The fresh wave of migrants is feared to cause a repeat of the migrant standoff that took place a few months ago, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the floodgates for migrants to the Evros border.
An additional 262 police officers from around Greece have been sent to Evros to increase security at the border, Die Welt quotes from the Frontex report.
“The planned deployment of another 400 newly trained police officers to the Evros area – as announced by the Greek authorities in early 2020 – has been postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis,” the report also warns.
The migrant crisis in Greece has caused heightened tensions between the two countries that share the Mediterranean waters. At the end of April, Greek authorities accused Turkey of trying to illegally escort migrants by boat into Greek waters off the island of Lesbos.
Tens of thousands of migrants were already in Greece before the crisis, mostly arriving from Turkey. Nearly 40,000 are still stuck in squalid, overcrowded camps on Lesbos and other Greek islands.