On May 13th, Greece accused Turkey of seizing border territory, and allegedly attempted land-leveling activities along the Evros River.
The Turkish Foreign ministry said it would not allow “fait accompli,” meaning that whatever has happened is already in the past, and there is no way to change it, but simply accept it.
“In spite of our warnings and proposals of cooperation, Greece initiated land-leveling activities on May 13, 2020, and violated our contractual land border. This violation was immediately intercepted by our relevant authorities through the necessary measures,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Ankara has informed Greece that the riverbed “has significantly changed due to natural and artificial reasons” since 1926 when the border was established and that technical coordination was needed for a solution.
The Turkish ministry added that the dispute could be resolved through talks between the two countries’ technical delegations.
According to the statement, the Turkish side offered Athens such a meeting.
“We will by no means allow any fait accompli on our borders,” the ministry warned.
On May 20th, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said there was a “dispute” with Ankara, saying, “The riverbed has changed.”
Foreign, primarily British, media reported that Turkish forces occupied a piece of land that is usually submerged in water at this time of the year, located on the Greek side of the border.
The Greek foreign ministry dismissed the reports as “fake news.”
“We stress that no foreign power is on Greek territory,” the ministry said in a statement, responding to reports in British and other media. “The government has proven that it knows how to defend the borders of Greece and Europe and our sovereign rights,” it added.
“Turkish soldiers and police special forces now have a solid presence within the Greek territory and have camped in the pocket of Apiary [Melissokomeio] at Feres,” the Daily Mail claimed, citing a Greek website called Army Voice.
“Around 35 soldiers reportedly marched onto a floodplain site on the east bank of the River Evros near the town of Feres,” The Sun also reported.
The area in question is Melissokomeio, near the southern part of the Evros River.
Members of Turkey’s police special forces have had a presence in the area in recent weeks, blocking the work of the Hellenic Army’s geographical service in view of the expansion of a border fence to the southern section of the Evros River to avoid a repeat of the scenes in March when thousands of migrants amassed at the border trying to cross into Greece.
“The government has already demonstrated that it can defend the border of Greece and Europe and our sovereign rights,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Greece’s ministers for Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias are on May 26th to brief members of Greek Parliament on the situation at the country’s northeastern land border with Turkey.
The briefing also comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said over the weekend that a new wave of migrants is expected to head to Greece, raising concerns of a repeat of scenes from early March.
In March, thousands of migrants faced off with riot police at the Greek border after Turkey opened its doors and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attempted to force migrants to leave its territory for Europe, in order to pressure it for support for its activities in Idlib, Syria.
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