Greece closes its border with Turkey as tensions escalate | Abroad

Greece closes its border with Turkey as tensions escalate |  Abroad

Greece wants to further close the border with Turkey. This is what Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said. The current border fence will be extended by 80 kilometres, making the border in the northeast of the country even more closed. At the moment, the closed section is only 35 kilometers.

Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis told radio today that areas accessible on foot will be closed. Athens fears that Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan may want to send migrants to Greece to put pressure on them. The Turkish president did this already in 2020, when he opened the border between Greece and the Evros River. This led to thousands of people crossing the border there.

The number of illegal border crossings has increased significantly recently. Civil Defense Minister Takis Theodorikakos said on the radio today, that 40,000 illegal border crossings have been prevented since the beginning of this year alone.

Metarakis’ announcement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Athens and Ankara. Recently, Erdogan publicly cut off contact with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Angry

The Turks are angry at the close cooperation between the Greeks and the United States, which has military bases in Greece. Mitsotakis warned Americans in a speech to the US Parliament against selling combat aircraft to Turkey.

In addition, the Greek government has complained to the United Nations that Turkey questions Greek rule over a number of islands off the Turkish coast. This includes the two popular holiday islands of Samos and Rhodes. Currently, Turkish fighter bombers fly almost daily over the inhabited Greek islands to provoke.

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Ankara and Athens are also arguing about natural gas reserves on the sea floor. Athens accuses Erdogan of illegally searching for gas fields in the waters around the Greek islands. Ankara rejects this suspicion and says that the places where the exploratory drilling is taking place belong to the Turkish continental shelf. Greece and Cyprus, which are also participating, are supported by the main EU partners.

Not exactly the first time

It is certainly not the first time that Greece and Turkey have argued over land. In recent years, President Erdogan has wondered aloud why some of the Greek islands are not Turkish. To outsiders, it often looks like nothing more than harassment, and because both Greece and Turkey are members of NATO, few believe in military confrontation.

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