Greece seeks assistance from rival Turkey over migration spike along border river

AP , Wednesday 7 Jun 2023

Greek officials have launched a series of high-level contacts with the newly elected government in Turkey in an effort to counter a surge in attempted crossings by migrants over a river that divides the two countries.

Evros river Greece and Turkey border
File photo: Police border guards on a boat patrol along the Evros River that forms a natural border between Greece and Turkey, on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. AP


Defense Minister Alkiviades Stephanis spoke on a call Wednesday with Turkish counterpart Yasar Guler, officials in Athens said, a day after the foreign ministers of the two countries also spoke. Guler and other members of the new Turkish government were appointed following the recent reelection victory of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Patrols along the Evros River on the Greek side of the border have been intensified following a recent drop in the water level that makes migrant crossings easier.

The two NATO members have a number of longstanding disputes, including sea boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean and efforts to curb illegal migration to the European Union.

Greece in the past has accused Turkey of “instrumentalizing” migration to push for concessions from the EU, but officials in both capitals have struck a more conciliatory tone in recent months.

Haralambos Lalousis, the Greek public order minister, said he didn't believe that Turkey was behind the latest spike in migrant crossings

“No, I don’t think it is Turkey,” Lalousis said Tuesday on the eve of a tour of border areas.

Lalousis, a former Greek army chief and commander of forces based in the border region, said the armed forces were assisting patrols by the police.

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