Greece boosts forces at Evros as it braces for new migrant crisis

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Greek authorities have confirmed the defence of its border with Turkey will be boosted, amid expectations migrants may renew their attempts to reach Europe. 

An additional 400 police will be sent to the northeastern Evros river border region “as a precautionary measure,” police spokesman, Thodoros Chronopoulos, told AFP.

The move follows statements by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said that when countries begin lifting their coronavirus lockdowns, migrants will again attempt to cross to Europe.

Border guards patrolling Evros border. Photo: Hellenic Republic Press Office.

The border area was the scene of violent push-backs of migrants in March after Turkey said it would no longer prevent migrants from attempting to reach the European Union.

For days, Greek riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at migrants trying to cross the border.

But more recently, Athens has said it would extend a razor-wire fence at the border, a move that has created a new dispute with Ankara.

Turkey says it should be consulted about the fence expansion, noting that the Evros riverbed “has significantly changed due to natural and artificial reasons” since the border was established in 1926.

Greece responded by saying it is not obliged to consult Turkey about infrastructure on its own side of the border.

“We will proceed with the fence expansion. It is our constitutional obligation to protect Greek soil,” said Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias.

READ MORE: ‘State of emergency’ not over on Evros border, Minister says.

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