Thursday, June 20 2024

PM says ‘inalienable right’ to build fence at Evros border

Greece has a right to extend a fence at the border with Turkey in the northeastern region of Evros to avoid a repeat of the tensions last March when thousands of migrants attempted to scale the fence and enter into EU soil.

Migrants gathered at the border after Turkey announced it would no longer adhere to its agreement with the EU to stop migrant flows and falsely claimed the borders were open.

“There is no border dispute” with Turkey, he said in a pre-recorded interview with Greek broadcaster Star on Monday evening, adding that Ankara has been nervous since Greece decided to build the fence. “It is our inalienable right to do it and we’ll do it.”

He also dismissed recent reports in British tabloids that Turkish troops have “invaded and occupied” a patch of Greek land in the northeastern Evros border area.

“I believe nothing remarkable happened” in Evros, he said, adding that there are “technical issues” between the two countries that will be resolved at a technical level.

Mitsotakis said the Greek government took “immediate decisions” when the border crisis broke. “We are not going to accept a policy of mass inflows. Protecting our borders and European borders is an acqui,” he said.

His view echoed that of the Turkish Ambassador to Greece, Burak Ozugergin, who told Skai TV that the status of this pocket of land is not a “border dispute, but a technical matter that is perfectly normal between neighbors across land borders.”

In the same interview, the prime minister dismissed reports in media that he is planning snap elections or a cabinet reshuffle. 'Why should we?...We are stronger politically today" than in July 2019 when New Democracy won the elections, he said.

Asked what the government plans to claim from the EU recovery fund, he said Greece will seek to receive the "largest possible amount" in grants -not loans.