Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Turkish authorities on Friday evacuated hundreds of migrants from Turkey's land border with Greece.
The migrants were among an estimated 10,000 that had gathered at the border hoping to cross into Greece and Europe after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government had said last month it would not prevent them from leaving.
Since the onset of the Syrian refugee crisis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has avoided developing a long-term strategy to help or integrate these refugees in Turkey. Instead, he has used them as bargaining chips with the European Union. In his latest attempt to weaponize these refugees, Erdogan is no longer halting their attempts to reach Europe.
Clashes broke out on Greece's border with Turkey before dawn Wednesday, after about 500 migrants attempted to break down a border fence and enter Greece.
Greek police said they used tear gas to repel the push south of the Kastanies border crossing. They said Turkish authorities also fired tear gas at the Greek border. The clashes began at 2 a.m. and lasted for roughly two hours.
The intense Turkish military presence in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus is proof that Turkey has emerged as a critical player on the international scene, according to its defense minister, Hulusi Akar.
In comments translated into Greek, Akar added that Turkey owes this position in the international arena to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara on Wednesday ramped up tensions with Greece on both land and sea, with Turkey's special forces firing shots over a military vehicle stationed on the Greek side of the border at Evros, a pair of F-16 fighter jets violating Greece's airspace over the northern part of the border, and a Turkish vessel ramming a Hellenic Coast Guard boat off the eastern Aegean island of Kos.
Turkish Foreign Ministry on March 11 summoned the Greek ambassador in Ankara over violations of Turkey's territorial waters and the detention of journalists, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Greece's envoy Michael-Christos Diamessis was summoned to the ministry in capital Ankara. The ministry called on Greece to end violations of the Turkish waters.