Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Greek police officers check detained migrants at a border police station in the village of Neo Cheimonio, Evros region, on March 3, 2020.

The Associated Press

European Union officials on Tuesday promised more funds for Greece during a visit to its border with Turkey that tens of thousands of migrants and refugees have been trying for days to breach.

The officials urged Turkey to abide by a 2016 deal that requires it to keep the migrants on its soil in return for EU aid. After an upsurge in fighting in Syria last week, Ankara says it will no longer stop migrants who want to reach Europe.

Greek riot police have used tear gas against the migrants at its Kastanies border post, while the coast guard has tried to stop boats transporting migrants to Greece’s Aegean islands. A Syrian boy died on Monday after his boat capsized in the area.

Story continues below advertisement

“The situation at our border is not only an issue for Greece to manage, it is the responsibility of Europe as a whole,” the head of the EU’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told a news conference at Kastanies.

“We will hold the line and our unity will prevail,” she said after touring the area with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the heads of the European Council and Parliament.

Ms. von der Leyen announced additional aid of €700-million ($1.4-billion) to help Greece deal with the migrant crisis.

Brussels is desperate to avoid a repeat of the 2015-16 crisis, when more than a million migrants entered the EU from Turkey via the Balkans, straining European security and welfare systems and boosting support for far-right parties.

Greek troops and riot police remained on high alert along the Turkish border on Tuesday, although there were no reports of significant new clashes with the migrants.

“There were only a few attempts today [to cross the border]. Let’s hope they get the message,” a gun-toting army officer said at the Kastanies border post.

Army jeeps patrolled the area and roads leading to the Evros river, which marks the Greek-Turkish border, remained shut.

Story continues below advertisement

Signs of the crisis also surfaced in Cyprus, where a boat carrying 101 Syrian migrants reached the southeastern coast of the eastern Mediterranean island, an EU member state, late on Tuesday, Cypriot police said.

By contrast, the border that Turkey shares with EU member Bulgaria, to mainland Greece’s north, was quiet.

GREECE, TURKEY AT LOGGERHEADS

The crisis has badly strained relations, never good, between Ankara and Athens.

Mr. Mitsotakis accused Ankara of deliberately encouraging migrants to head to the border to “promote its geopolitical agenda and divert attention from the situation in Syria.”

He also said these migrants were not fleeing the latest flare-up of fighting in Syria’s Idlib province, but were people “who have been living safely in Turkey for a long period of time.” Many speak fluent Turkish, he added.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boris Borissov, who maintains good relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, voiced hope the crisis could be overcome. “We have agreed to work with all our goodwill for good neighbourly relations … to solve the conflict,” he said after meeting European Council chief Charles Michel and Ms. von der Leyen in Sofia.

Story continues below advertisement

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also accused Turkey on Tuesday of using the refugees to “blackmail” Europe.

Mr. Erdogan infuriated Mr. Mitsotakis on Monday by accusing Greek border guards of killing two migrants and wounding a third, a claim denied by Athens.

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Greek forces were shooting migrants “in the back as they are running away,” but he provided no evidence.

Turkey, which plays host to 3.6 million refugees from Syria’s civil war and faces another possible big influx as the fighting drags on there, says it cannot take in any more.

Human Rights Watch said it had received multiple reports that Greek border guards were pushing people back into Turkey, which could violate the right to claim asylum as well as a ban on returning people to where they would be unsafe, both of which are enshrined in international law.

The mood toward migrants on Greek islands such as Lesbos – once relatively welcoming – has soured since the 2015-16 crisis amid a sense that the Athens government and the EU are not providing sufficient support.

Story continues below advertisement

“It used to be the island of solidarity, but it seems like the locals are exhausted,” said Charlie Meyers, a U.S. aid worker on Lesbos.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies