Yet more migrants and refugees continued to arrive on Tuesday from Istanbul and other cities on the Turkish side of the border with Greece, Greek Reporter learns from sources on the ground.
Despite the fact that Athens has stressed that anyone caught entering Greece illegally will be arrested and held in detention and return centers, at least 15,000 people have converged at Evros since Friday, hoping to cross into the country.
“Most of those on the move are men,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Sunday, adding that there are also “many family groups traveling with young children” heading to the Greek border.
The mass movement has been instigated by Turkish authorities who have declared that their border is open, which is true, but they fail to inform people that the Greek border has actually been completely closed.
Now, even the locals themselves are calling on Turkish authorities through the “What’s Up” app to stop spreading these rumors about open borders.
Most of the migrants and refugees stuck at Evros are expecting the Greek border to open and are being told that it’s up to them to push as hard as they can to make this happen.
Most who have traveled to Evros by trains, buses and taxis have taken few belongings, since they have been convinced that their ordeal crossing over into European territory will be a short one.
Greek Reporter learns that Turkish authorities including the army have opened soup kitchens in the region, offering hot meals to the migrants. There is no NGO presence in the area as of Tuesday.
Most migrants are law-abiding people, but there is also a small percentage of agitators intent on provoking Greek security forces into a violent response.
The longer the migrants remain at the border, the greater the likelihood of these people turning to violent means to storm the border.
There are mixed feelings about this massing of migrants among the local Turks. Some, including taxi drivers, have benefited from the rush to the border, as they charge gouging fares for the relatively short trip from Edirne (Andrianoupolis) and other small towns to the border.
But many are unhappy with the after-effects which have already begun to occur in the tourist industry. Edirne, in the far northwestern corner of Turkey, is a magnet for Greek and Bulgarian tourists who make daily trips to take advantage of cheaper prices on a whole array of consumer goods.
The current crisis has understandably completely cut off the flow of tourists to that area.
In addition, Greek Reporter learns that Turkish farmers are unhappy as vast swaths of their valuable farmland has been taken over by huge groups of migrants.
Overall, Turkish public opinion is in favor of Erdogan’s open borders policy, since the prevailing view is that the country — which currently houses 3.7 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world — has reached its limits and cannot accommodate any more.