On Tuesday, thousands of refugees and migrants attempted to make their way across Greece’s border through Turkey. Athens looked to the European Union for help in securing its eastern border according to CBC News.
Turkey has followed through with its threat to allow people to cross the country and make their way to Europe. After Greece made it known that its border is closed, many people still took their chances by making their way across the Evros river that runs along the border of the two countries.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president has given rise to violent scenes at the border for days with his actions. Greece’s armed forces are now taking the lead in stopping migrants from crossing the border. They have now deployed water cannons to drive people back.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and top EU officials such as European Council President Charles Michel and Commission head Ursula von der Leyen passed by the chaotic border to view the situation.
Mitsotakis noted that a 2016 migration agreement between Turkey and the EU was being breached by Turkey and “has systematically encouraged and assisted tens of thousands of refugees and migrants to illegally enter Greece. It has failed, and will continue to fail, should it continue to pursue this strategy.”
“This is no longer a refugee problem. This is a blatant attempt by Turkey to use desperate people to promote its geopolitical agenda,” said Mitsotakis.
The Greek government called the situation a direct threat to their national security. Emergency measures have been taken by the government to take away new arrivals abilities to apply for asylum. This will last for one month.
“The Greek worries are our worries,” said von der Leyen. “This is not only a Greek border but it is also a European border, and I stand here today as a European at your side.”
She noted that people at the borders were “lured by false promises into this desperate situation.”
Turkey announced that it would allow people to cross the country into Europe on Feb. 26.