Greece has completely shut down its borders Friday, sending dozens of naval vessels to patrol the Greek islands after Turkey announced it would allow all Syrian migrants to head to Europe.
A government representative, who wished to remain anonymous, told German media that Greece has closed its entire land and sea border with Turkey and will allow no one to cross the border at all, German tabloid Bild reports. Citing sources, the newspaper claimed 50 naval ships — likely predominantly patrol vessels — of the Hellenic Navy supported by helicopters were being sent to the European Union’s external border.
The newspaper also cited accounts of Greek authorities setting off tear gas at land border crossing points as migrants attempted to move into Europe.
The Turkish government has not made an official government announcement that the border is open but a source informed news agency Reuters that all border guards, police and Turkish coastguard officers were ordered to stand down.
Turkish journalist Ragip Solyu added that the border would be open for all Syrians wanting to head to Europe for the next 72 hours.
Ömer Celik, the spokesman for the Islamist AKP party, the party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, alluded to the fact that the borders could be opened stating, “Our refugee policy remains the same, but here we have a situation. We can no longer keep the refugees.”
Erdogan Opens the Gates: Syrian Migrants Granted Unhindered Passage to Europe https://t.co/BdLPQiqQC1
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 28, 2020
Can Dündar, a Turkish journalist who fled from the Erdogan regime to Germany, made a post on social media platform Twitter claiming to show a video of released Syrian prisoners heading for the Greek border.
Other news agencies have shown similar videos and photographs and claimed that hundreds of migrants have begun attempting to cross into Greece.
Greek government sources have said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has greatly increased overall security on the border and Lieutenant General Konstantinos Floros, head of the Hellenic Armed Forces also travelled to the region of Evros to prepare for an expected surge in migrants.
The new wave of migrants comes as tensions on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios remain high following riots involving locals who injured dozens of police officers while protesting against the building of new migrant centres.
A total of 52 officers and 10 local residents were injured during the riots and Greek police have announced they will be launching a probe into the incidents.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com