Dozens of Turkish soldiers invade and occupy small patch of Greek land, install their flag and set up camp along disputed border
- Around 35 soldiers marched on to a floodplain site on the bank of the River Evros
- At the camp there is a Turkish flag flying from a tree, as troops refuse to leave
- It comes after thousands of Syrian refugees failed to break through into Greece
Turkish troops have invaded Greece and occupied a small patch of land on their contested border.
Around 35 soldiers marched on to a floodplain site on the east bank of the River Evros at Melissokomeio yesterday.
Turkish soldiers and police special forces now have a solid presence within the Greek territory and have camped in the pocket of Apiary at Feres, reports Greek site Army Voice.
At the camp there is now a small Turkish flag flying from a tree. Troops have rejected Greek demands to withdraw.
Around 35 soldiers marched on to a floodplain site on the east bank of the River Evros at Melissokomeio yesterday. The invaded area is shaded in red
At the camp there is now a small Turkish flag flying from a tree. Troops have rejected Greek demands to withdraw. Pictured: Greek Army soldiers patrol next to the security fence at the Greek-Turkish border in the village of Kastanies in the Evros region
It comes weeks after thousands of Syrian refugees failed to break through into Greece.
Local reports say the invasion is in response to a Greek army survey of the 1.6-hectare site as part of plans to expand the border fence which kept the refugees out.
Turkey refuses to acknowledge that some of the land on the eastern side of the Evros River still belongs to Greece, even if the river changes its natural course.
Tensions between the two countries have grown under hardline President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Four times in recent weeks, Greek soldiers have been shot at over the border and Turkish fighter jets have to be chased out of Greek airspace regularly.
Greece is trying to de-escalate tensions through diplomatic channels and has not yet made an official response.
Tens of thousands of migrants tried to get into EU member Greece after Ankara said on February 28 it would no longer prevent them from doing so, as agreed in a 2016 deal with Brussels in return for European aid for Syrian refugees.
Turkey, which hosts some 3.6 million Syrians, the world’s largest refugee population, lifted restrictions on the migrants because it was alarmed by the prospect of another wave of refugees fleeing war in northwest Syria.
The rush to the border was met a strong response from Greek security forces. Greek authorities have strongly rejected accusations by Ankara that their forces killed migrants at the border, and have denied firing live ammunition.
The tension on the border had largely settled since the outbreak of the new coronavirus prompted Turkey to close the borders with Greece and Bulgaria.
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