İrem UZUN -TDO- Turkey will no longer stop refugees from reaching Europe, after 34 of its soldiers were killed in a regime airstrike in Syria, prompting Greece to tighten its sea and land borders. Greek sources on Friday stressed that authorities are boosting security at the country’s border following reports that Turkey will no longer stop Syrian refugees from traveling to Europe. 

Responding to the killings, Ankara ordered Turkish police coastguard and border security officials to stand down on land and sea crossings towards Europe and allow refugees to pass.  "We have decided, effective immediately, not to stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land or sea," said the Turkish official, who requested anonymity. The European Commission, however, said on Friday that Turkey has not officially announced a change to its policy on refugees in its country.

On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said authorities would tighten border controls to prevent the coronavirus reaching islands in the Aegean, where thousands of migrants are living in poor conditions waiting for their asylum applications to be processed. "They will not enter the country. They are irregular migrants, we won't let them enter," a government official told Reuters news agency. "Greece has tightened the guarding of its land and sea borders to the maximum degree possible."

Bulgaria also heightened security along its border with its southeastern neighbour, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Friday.  "We have data about a lot of crowding... We are tightening maximum control at the border," Borissov said during a government meeting, adding he was arranging a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

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