Reports: Turkish Police Use Drones to Organise Tear Gas Attacks on Greek Border Guards

A Greek firefighter stands amid clouds of tear gas at the Greece-Turkey border during clashes between migrants and riot police in the village of Kastanies on March 7, 2020. - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the Turkish coastguard to prevent migrants crossing the Aegean sea because of the risks, …
ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images

Turkish police used drones to organise attacks against Greek security forces tasked with protecting the nation’s borders from thousands of migrants attempting to illegally cross into the country, according to reports.

On Friday, Greek security forces were bombarded with smoke bombs and tear gas fired from the Turkish side of the border at the Kastanies checkpoint on the Evros river. It is now alleged that Turkish police used drones to co-ordinate the onslaught upon Greek security forces.

During the attack, members of the Turkish police force were seen handing out wire cutters to migrants to help them cut through the border fence separating the two countries, according to the Greek Reporter.

The escalation in violence at the border follows the decision by the Islamist president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to “open the gates” to migrants attempting to enter Europe.

The move is widely seen as a retaliation for Europe insufficiently backing his invasion of northern Syria to crush Kurdish forces and prop up jihadist rebels in Idlib.

The decision by Erdogan abrogtated the 2016 agreement between Turkey and the European Union, which required Turkey halt the flow of migration into the EU in return for billions of euros in aid.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday that the deal between Turkey and the EU is now “dead” as “Turkey has decided to completely violate the agreement”.

The Greek leader said that there is “a conscious attempt by Turkey to use migrants and refugees as geopolitical pawns to promote its own interests,” adding that the majority of migrants attempting to illegally cross the border are not refugees from Syria but rather people who have been safely living in Turkey for years.

Video released by the Greek government on Thursday seemingly showed “Turkish forces actively help[ing] migrants illegally cross the border” by arming them with tear gas canisters and assisting smuggler boats crossing the Aegean.

“They have systematically assisted, both at land and at sea, people in their effort to cross into Greece,” said Mitsotakis.

In response to the growing, the government of Greece is planning to establish two new migrant detention centres, one in a former military facility in northern Greece and another near Lamia in central Greece, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

The centres will hold migrants, pending deportation, who have been caught illegally entering the country since March 1st.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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