A dangerous incident between Turkish and German border guards occurred at the Greek-Turkish land border.
Turkish soldiers targeted German officials and fired at least one shot. It is unclear where the bullet went.
The news emerged from an internal document of the European border protection agency Frontex, which was made available to German media outlet SPIEGEL. No one was injured in the incident.
The German Ministry of the Interior confirmed the incident. A Turkish soldier fired a shot at 19:15 on Tuesday evening when German officials were on the other side of the border.
German officers are stationed at the Greek border as part of a Frontex mission. The incident occurred near the Greek town of Tychero. According to SPIEGEL information, after German border guards heard a shot from the Turkish side of the border on Tuesday evening, they immediately took cover.
Through a pair of binoculars, the German border guards saw a Turkish soldier aiming an automatic weapon at the Greek side from the other side of the river.
Then the Turkish soldier showed his middle finger and went back to his tent. Other soldiers shouted “come, come” and a short time later, six other Turkish soldiers had appeared and also aimed their guns at the German and Greek border guards.
Frontex said on request that all the facts about the incident were with the Greek authorities. The Turkish government have not commented on the incident.
The day after the incident, the Greek Deputy Migration Minister George Koumoutsakos phoned Frontex boss Fabrice Leggeri. Among other things, they discussed the possibility of sending more Frontex officials to Greece. The number of refugees who try to cross the land border or to the Greek islands in the Aegean usually increases in summer.
Germany has been participating in the Frontex mission in Greece for several years. They are mostly federal police officers who assist the Greek authorities in checking the border, but the state police also provide officials for the German Frontex force. By March, there were around 60 officials.
After a call for help from Athens at the beginning of March, Germany pledged another 20 police officers and a seaworthy helicopter to observe refugee movements in the Mediterranean. At the time, Greece feared that Turkey could completely open the borders, especially to Syrian refugees.
The relationship between Frontex and Turkey was already tense after an aggressive incident in March. At that time, two Turkish planes had been tracking a Danish reconnaissance jet, which was commissioned by Frontex, for several minutes. In Germany, the action was seen as an aggressive act.