Turkish troops occupy small piece of Greek land – report

Turkish troops have occupied a small patch of disputed land on the border with Greece, British tabloid the Sun said on Thursday. 

Around 35 Turkish soldiers entered a 1.6-hectare floodplain on the east bank of the River Evros (known as the river Meriç in Turkey) at Melissokomeio, the Sun said, citing Greek sources.

The Turkish forces set up a camp with a small Turkish flag flying from a tree and rejected Greek demands to withdraw.

Turkish police forces have maintained a steady presence in the area in recent weeks and are blocking the efforts by the Greek military’s geographical service to expand a border fence, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini said this week.

A section of the border drawn between Turkey and Greece follows the river, which changes during the flooding season, and therefore it is “virtually impossible to pinpoint clear-cut boundaries using traditional geodetic instruments”, Kathimerini said.

Tensions have been growing between Turkey and Greece over recent weeks due to Ankara’s decision to open its land borders in late February to migrants and refugees seeking to enter Greece, as well as a dispute over gas exploration rights off the coast of Cyprus, and Turkish claims to Greek waters.