Greece boosts border patrol after Turkey opens gates to refugee flow: report

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PHOTO: Bianet

Greece boosted border patrols on Friday after Turkey said it would no longer prevent refugees from going to Europe, officials said.

According to Reuters, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis discussed the situation in Turkey and the movement of migrants towards Greek borders during a call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the prime minister’s office said.

“Greece has tightened the guarding of its land and sea borders to the maximum degree possible,” a government source told AFP.

A police source also said border patrols had been doubled and a general call for heightened readiness had been issued.

“Everything is under control, there is no reason for concern,” the source told AFP.

An army source said around 300 people had been spotted on the Turkish side of the border in the northeastern Evros region.

“These numbers are not out of the ordinary,” the officer said.

A senior Turkish official said earlier Friday that Ankara would no longer close its border gates to refugees who want to go to Europe, shortly after the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in an airstrike in northern Syria.

In addition to the group on the land border, Turkey’s private DHA news agency said other migrants had arrived on the coast of Ayvacık in Çanakkale, western Turkey, seeking to go to the Greek island of Lesbos by boat.

AFP reporters on Lesbos said one boat had arrived with 15 Afghans on board, including several children.

Turkey, which is already home to around 3.6 million Syrian refugees, fears more people arriving in the country where there is growing popular discontent against their presence.

Greece and its EU partners fear another influx of refugees from Syria after more than 1 million made their way there in 2015 before an EU-Turkey accord was reached on controlling the numbers.

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