Dendias: The government has proved that it can protect our borders, the borders of Europe

“The government has proved that it can protect our borders, the borders of Europe,” Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday in an interview with Kathimerini newspaper.

The extension of the border fence along the Evros River will continue and will be completed, Dendias said, while referring to an exchange of demarches between Greece and Turkey a few days ago.

“Borders are a given. They do not change and they cannot change,” he stressed, while dismissing reports that a patch of Greek territory near the Evros River had been occupied by Turkish forces as “misinformation”.

He said the issue arose after Turkey lodged a demarche seeking information from Greece on the coordinates for the construction of the fence extension. The demarche also asked that both countries come to an understanding on the issue.

Athens, Dendias said, rejected the Turkish request with a demarche of its own, “as what we do within the limits of our national sovereignty is our prerogative and responsibility and we are not obliged to account to anyone.”

Greece, he said, then lodged a fresh demarche after Turkish activity was detected in the region, according to the newspaper.

“From then on, an unacceptable spread of misinformation took place, about the occupation of, for example, 1.6 hectares of Greek territory,” Dendias said.

The area in question is at a point within the riverbed that floods every year after the autumn and is shown to be Greek in maps of 1923. Greece wants to extend the border fence to avoid a repetition of the scenes in March 2020, when thousands of migrants amassed at the Evros border trying to cross into Greece, with Ankara’s encouragement.