Turkey / Greek Border Refugee Crisis
On Feb. 28, the Turkish government announced it would no longer stop migrants trying to reach Europe in response to the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in an airstrike in Syria whilst also bolstering its claim for more financial aid from the European Union, sending the Greek government scrambling to prevent thousands of people from crossing its borders.
It became a move that saw tens of thousands of the 4 million refugees within Turkey flock to the border town of Edirne next to the Greek Border, turning people in need of safety and dignity into political bargaining chips.
At least 13,000 asylum seekers – mostly Syrians and Afghans – saw this as potentially their one opportunity to escape increasing anti-refugee sentiment in Turkey and a lack of economic opportunity. They gathered near the small Turkish City of Edirne part of the Turkish-Greek land border, but in the no man’s land between border checkpoints were greeted with volleys of tear gas fired by Greek police finding themselves stuck in a political stand off between Turkey and the European Union. With no shelter, sanitation and with the ever present threat of Covid-19 crisis spreading through Europe, thousands of migrants, many families with young children, are passing a cold night along the border between Turkey and Greece, their future and fate’s unknown.