‘State of emergency’ not over on Evros border, Minister says

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Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on Monday joined his Defence counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos on a visit to the Greek-Turkish border area of Evros.

The minister stressed that despite the departure of thousands of migrants and refugees from the Kastanies crossing, the “state of emergency” is not over.

“We are back at the Kastanies border post in order to assess the situation,” Panagiotopoulos said after being briefed by the chief of the National Defense General Staff, Konstantinos Floros.

Read More: Migrants moved from Greek border amid coronavirus pandemic

Read More: Fire breaks out in migrant camp at Turkey-Greece border as tents are burnt down [Video]

“We also has the opportunity to talk with the leaderships of the armed forces and the Hellenic Police on the local level, with the people who carried out their mission of guarding the border, of managing to maintain their impregnability from the surprise push of Clean Monday, and, of course, to plan our next moves,” Panagiotopoulos added.

Panagiotopoulos, however, said that “the state of emergency has not ended,” adding that the armed forces “remain vigilant.”

“We are at the beating heart of European solidarity,” he said, hailing the support of EU member-states to the Greek effort.

He also announced that an existing fence at the border would be extended to cover more areas that are vulnerable.

“Migrants will return to Evros when pandemic is over,” Turkey minister threatens

Turkey‘s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has threatened Greece and Europe that the migrants would return to Evros border once the coronavirus pandemic is over. The removal of migrants from the border last week “did not amount to a change in policy,” Soylu told NTV.

“When this epidemic is over we would not prevent whoever wants to leave,” Soylu said.

The migrants have reportedly been taken to migration centres in nine provinces.

The migrants were evacuated by bus to facilities where they would be in quarantine for two weeks to make sure they have not been infected with the coronavirus.

State-run Anadolu Agency said that some of the migrants asked to be moved, while others had to be convinced.

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