PICTURES: Migrant Mobs Turn Violent at Greek Border, Army Deployed

Violent clashes erupted on the European Union’s common external border over the weekend as Greek border guards tried to stop migrants promised they could travel to Europe by the Turkish president from entering.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who leads the Islamist government in Ankara, told migrants the border was now open several days ago — a move widely regarded as punishment for the West’s failure to back his effective annexation of northern Syria, which has embroiled him in an increasingly deadly confrontation with the Syrian government and its backers in Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.

A migrant who is trying to enter Greece from the Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, reacts as Greek riot police guard the border gate in Kastanies village (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Migrants trying to enter Greece from the Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, throw stones at Greek riot police guarding the border gate (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Migrants who are trying to enter Greece from the Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, clash with the Greek riot police who guard the border gate in Kastanies village (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

A migrant who is trying to enter Greece from the Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, throws back a tear gas canister to Greek riot police who guard the border gate in Kastanies village (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

The EU, including the United Kingdom, had been funnelling the Turkish government billions of euros in order to encourage Erogan to bring the flow of migrants under a modicum of control, but he has now reneged on that deal, and they are again travelling to the frontier in their tens of thousands — many of them in unmarked buses seemingly laid on for the purpose of transporting them.

The Greek border, however, remains closed, resulting in angry confrontations between Greek personnel and migrants who believed border guards on both sides of the frontier had been stood down.

A migrant who is trying to enter Greece from the Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, throws stones at Greek riot police who guard the border gate in Kastanies village (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Migrants who are trying to enter Greece from the Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, throw stones at Greek riot police who guard the border gate in Kastanies village (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

A migrant throws a stone at Greek police and army personnel during clashes near the Kastanies border gate (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

A migrant throws a stone at Greek police and army personnel during clashes near the Kastanies border gate at the Greek-Turkish border (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Migrants trying to enter Greece from the Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, approach the border gate during clashes in Kastanies village (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Greek riot police who guard the border gate in Kastanies village try to stop migrants who are trying to enter Greece from the Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Greek riot police and the army hold positions as migrants toss rocks and other projectiles on the Greek-Turkish border gate on March 1, 2020 in Kastanies, Greece (Photo by Byron Smith/Getty Images)

A migrant burns a tire as Greek riot police watch along the Greece-Turkey border in the village of Kastanies (Photo by SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Migrants have lit fires, hurled stones, and exchanged tear gas canisters with the Greek border guards, who have had to be reinforced by military personnel, in their efforts to breach the border and reach Europe.

The Greeks have for the most part held firm, although some dozens of migrants have illegally entered the country successfully, ranging down along the border in search of weak points to ford the Evros river or destroy sections of fencing with bolt cutters.

This picture taken from the Greek side of the Greece-Turkey border near Kastanies, shows migrants waiting on the Turkish side (Photo by SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Migrants stand behind a fence near the Kastanies border gate at the Greek-Turkish border (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

A Greek army officer police walk along a separation fence during clashes with migrants along the Greece-Turkey border near the village of Kastanies (Photo by SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP via Getty Images)

A migrant throws tear gas at Greek police during clashes at the Turkish-Greek border near the Pazarkule border gate in Edirne, Turkey (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Migrants try to cut the fence at the Turkish-Greek border near the Pazarkule border gate in Edirne, Turkey on Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Migrants try to cut the fence at the Turkish-Greek border during clashes with the Greek police near the Pazarkule border gate in Edirne, Turkey on Monday, March 2, 2020 (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)


Migrants try to cut the fence at the Turkish-Greek border during clashes with the Greek police near the Pazarkule border gate in Edirne, Turkey on Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has promised that “the level of deterrence at our borders [has been increased to the maximum” and taken the extraordinary step of suspending all asylum applications.

The New York Times believes this move may have be illegal under the EU rules on asylum and immigration to which Greece is subject, but Prime Minister Mitsotakis says he has activated an emergency clause in the bloc’s treaties to “to ensure full European support”.

Whether or not this will be challenged in the Greek or EU courts by NGOs or other actors which favour open borders remains to be seen.

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