Tight security measures in Athens for Erdogan's visit

Tight security measures in Athens for Erdogan's visit

The Greek Police and the Citizen Protection Ministry face three difficult days ahead of a planned visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Athens on Thursday and Komotini on Friday but also planned rallies and marches in Athens to mark the anniversary of the murder of high-school student Alexis Grigoropoulos, where police fear some will attempt to spark violence.

The last details of the security measures during Erdogan's visit will be decided on Tuesday at a meeting that will be held at the Citizen Protection Ministry but the operational plan has already been drafted by the heads of the Greek police in cooperation with the heads of the Turkish president's guard, who are already in Greece.

A meeting between Greek and Turkish police officers in the presence of Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas was held on Monday, during which there was a discussion on security issues and the persons that will accompany Erdogan, while the Turkish side submitted all the names of the police officers that will be guarding Erdogan.

According to sources, 200 members of his personal guard will accompany the Turkish president, many of whom will arrive with him on Thursday morning, while 65 Turkish police officers have already arrived in Athens and 60 Turkish police officers in Thrace.

Meanwhile, 2,800 Greek police officers will take part in the operation that will turn Athens into a veritable fortress from early Thursday until Erdogan's departure, including a number of snipers that will take up positions at several points along Erdogan's route during his stay in the Greek capital. Traffic will be interrupted for Erdogan's motorcade.

The public will be forbidden from congregating in a large part of Athens, especially near Syntagma Square, as a precaution.

Meanwhile, police are also on high alert over the rallies that will be held in Athens on Wednesday in commemoration of Alexis Grigoropoulos. Two rallies have been scheduled, at 12:00 and 18:00 on Wednesday. Approximately 2,500 police officers will be deployed to keep the peace during the rallies.