Cyprus to send security forces to help guard Greek border amid migrant crisis

Cyprus is set to send security forces to the Greek-Turkish land border at Evros to help protect it, Greek Cypriot government spokesman Kyriakos Kousios said on Sunday.

The decision arrives as clashes have erupted on the Greek-Turkish border with Greek authorities using tear gas and a water cannon to hold back thousands of refugees and migrants trying to push through Greece’s eastern border with Turkey following a decision by Ankara to allow free passage of migrants and refugees to EU territory.  

Greek police have deployed riot police and border guards to repel people trying to enter the country from the sea.

The decision to send the force was announced by Cypriot President Nicos Anastassiades to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a telephone conversation between the pair on Sunday morning, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported. 

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.

“The President's proposal was gratefully accepted by Greece's Prime Minister and, therefore, a force from Cyprus' security forces will travel to Greece immediately to defend and guard Greece's, and Europe's, borders,” Kousios said.