Athens points to 'asymmetrical threat' by Ankara's 'open border' decision; no asylum requests to be taken for a month

Sunday, 01 March 2020 23:00

Migrants, who crossed part of the Aegean Sea from Turkey, are seen on a dinghy with a damaged engine, as locals prevent them from docking at the port of Thermi, on island of Lesbos, Greece, March 1, 2020. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

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Athens on Sunday continued to harden its stance against Ankara's abrupt "open borders" policy, which has led to the congregation of several thousand third country nationals on the Turkish side of a frontier post demanding to enter the country, with a government spokesman on Sunday evening referring to an "asymmetrical threat" against Greece.

Spokesman Stelios Petsas also announced another five measures to stem the possibility of another repeat of the 2015 migrant/refugee crisis, including a stop to accepting asylum requests on Greek territory for a month; repatriating would-be migrants, where possible, to their home countries immediately and without recording their particulars, as well as further increasing patrols on Greece's land and sea borders.

Petsas said official Turkey is directing and encouraging the attempt by third country nationals to illegally enter Greece, saying the neighboring state is a "people trafficker".

The development follows a day in which a police and military presence was beefed up in the northeast border prefecture of Evros, and especially at the Kastanies border post, the only spot where the Evros/Maritsa River does not delineate the Greek-Turkish frontier.

Meanwhile, Greek first instance courts on the island of Lesvos (Mytilene) the same day convicted more than 60 people of illegally entering Greece, members of groups that has landed on the island from the opposite Turkish coast over the past 48 hours. The convictions were handed down in an eyebrow-raising speed unheard of in the Greek justice system.  




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