Thousands of migrants hope to enter Greece, encouraged by Turkey and the bulos
Several thousand people have spent the night in the surroundings of the Turkish city of Edirne waiting to cross the nearby border with Greece, caught between the Turkish Police, which encourages them to try, and the Greek, who uses force to prevent it.
Numerous Syrian refugees told Efe that, once they have arrived from Istanbul and other Turkish cities, they no longer have permission to return, as the Turkish authorities only allow them to board vehicles that bring them back to the border.
This same morning a police van appeared escorting a bus from a private company about five kilometers from the border crossing. Agents encouraged migrants and refugees in the area to get on the vehicle to go to the edge, as Efe could observe.
"They try to convince us by telling us that they will take us to a point of the border without surveillance, but we were already there yesterday and we know that it is not true: the Greek police do not let anyone in and throw us tear gas," a Syrian native from Aleppo who identified himself as Mohamed.
"Yesterday I was with a group of hundreds of people, including families and children, on the fence. From the front they threw gas at us and behind, the Turkish police prevented us from going back. We were trapped for fifteen hours," says the refugee.
"They don't let us go back. They come with private buses and take us from this step to another. And from there to another. And then they bring us back. They play with us, nothing more," says Nasser Abu Sami, another Syrian, who takes Two days with his family in the area.
TURKEY ENCOURAGES CROSSING ...
Buses, which nobody knows who has chartered, distribute the migrants in small groups along some 25 kilometers of the border.
Mohamed and several of his colleagues say that the Turkish police take them to isolated villages, where traffickers are waiting for them, promising to help them cross the river Evros, which borders, with a payment of 50 euros.
He claims that Turkey is registering these migrants as if they had already passed to Greece.
The Turkish authorities distributed inflated figures yesterday that more than one hundred thousand people had managed to cross, although the Greek authorities have indicated that only one hundred people had been arrested in the last hours after entering Greek soil.
... AND GREECE PREVENTS
Greece, which has suspended for a month the right of refugees to apply for asylum, in breach of international law, has resorted to the launch of tear gas, stunning grenades and water cannons to block the entry of migrants. Hungary has also stopped accepting asylum claims.
In addition, there have been episodes of violence by those who wait at the border, with some migrants throwing stones at the Greek Police.
The Turkish government has accused Greece of using violence against refugees and has demanded that it process the requests of asylum seekers at its border.
BULOS IN THE SOCIAL NETWORKS
Some migrants have even reported that when they have tried to return to the Turkish cities where they lived, given the fact that the passage is neither open nor seems to be open, they have been intercepted by the Turkish Police, which has forced them to return to the border area with Turkey.
In addition to being caught between the Turkish Police, which pushes them to pass, and the Greek, which prevents it, migrants are in the middle of a war of messages on social networks.
While bulls continue to spread about an imminent opening of the border or announcements that Greece will allow small groups to enter, the Greek authorities have sent an SMS to all international mobiles near the border in which they warn that the passage is not open and that whoever tries to enter the country illegally will be arrested.
As Efe could see, this message is only picked up by mobile phones when it is very close to the border, but not about 5 kilometers away.
The Turkish authorities still do not allow the media to approach border crossings.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to visit the border area tomorrow accompanied by the president of the European Council, Charles Michel.
The Turkish authorities are expected to receive Boiko Borisov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, a border country with Turkey and who has reinforced surveillance on their border, in Ankara, although an unusual movement of refugees has not been detected along that border.
WAR IN SYRIA
Thousands of migrants and refugees, many Syrians but also Iraqis, Palestinians or Somalis, have been approaching the Greek border for several days after Turkey announced Friday that it is no longer able to prevent them from moving to the European Union.
The Turkish announcement came after 33 of its soldiers were killed in a bombing of the Syrian forces in Idlib, the last stronghold where Islamist militias, supported by Ankara, resist the regime of Bachar al Asad, backed by Russia.
In this way, Ankara hopes to pressure the European Union to contribute more money to the attention of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees living in Turkey, in some cases for years, and to support their military campaign in Syria.
Ilya U. Topper and Lara Villalón