Tensions continue to escalate along Greece’s land and sea frontier after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened his country’s borders and encouraged hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants to travel freely to Greece.
“Hundreds of thousands have crossed. Soon we will reach millions,” Erdogan said in a televised speech over the weekend.
The United Nations’ migration organization estimates the number to be much lower — around 13,000 people — who crossed into Greece despite a tightening of the border by Athens.
Clashes between migrants trying to enter Greece circulated throughout social media over the weekend, showing a desperate situation for tens of thousands of people caught in a strip of land between Greece and Turkey, near the Greek town of Evros.
Turkish mayors from various border towns are even providing free bus service to the Greek border, according to reports, while the mayor of a Greek town claimed that Turkish soldiers have been using wire cutters to cut the fence that separates the two countries.
Meanwhile, a child drowned after a boat en route from Turkey capsized off the coast of the island of Lesvos.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted about his government’s resolve to protect its country’s borders, announcing that new asylum applications would cease and emergency measures would be taken to increase protection against illegal arrivals.
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