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Refugee numbers increase amid tensions between Ankara, Athens

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The Greek government on Tuesday reported that Athens registered increased refugee numbers at the Greek borders.

On Monday, according to the coastguard, almost 600 people tried to cross from Turkey to the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean.

A border guard told the news channel Skai that up to 300 people a day were again being prevented from reaching Greece and thus the EU at the border river Evros.

Meanwhile, the government criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for breaking off his relationship with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“We will not enter into such a confrontation with similar statements,” government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said in a statement released late Monday.

This was a pressure tactic Erdogan had already used in 2020 at the north-eastern Greek border river, known as the Evros in Greece, the Maritsa in Bulgaria or the Meriç in Turkey.

Erdogan had said on Monday that Mitsotakis no longer existed for him as there was outrage in Turkey over a visit by the Greek prime minister to Washington last week.

Earlier, Mitsotakis had recommended to the U.S. Congress not to sell arms to the eastern Mediterranean. He was referring to Turkey, which was seeking to buy U.S. F-16 fighter jets.

Mitsotakis was referring to the recent increase in illegal overflights of Turkish fighter jets over inhabited Greek territory.

Since then, the Greek border guards have registered a sharp increase in the number of refugees attempting to enter Greece.

(NAN)

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