Editor's note: Greek authorities are currently in the process of evacuating the makeshift Idomeni camp on the Greek-Macedonian border, where more than an estimated 8,400 people have been living for months, according to AP. Many international journalists have reported that authorities only allow public Greek media into the camp. The refugees and migrants in Idomeni will be moved gradually to newly completed, organized camps. Although about 20 riot police units, comprising a total of about 400 police, were in Idomeni for the operation, officials have said they will not use force. We will continue to post updates throughout the operation. - Imana
Editor's note: Times journalist Anthee Carassava, based in Greece, is claiming that the Greek defense ministry have confirmed that the Egyptian military have found bodies, plane debris and passenger items in an area 5 miles south of where the EgyptAir plane disappeared from radar. We are seeking to confirm these reports. - Luke
More: Senior Greek air safety official says 'assessment of the finds showed that they do not belong to an aircraft' regarding debris in Mediterranean Sea; Egyptian officials have yet to respond to this - AP
Editor's note: We're following reports from the AP and AFP that Greek aviation officials are coming forward to say no wreckage from EgyptAir Flight 804 has been found. This contradicts information provided by the airline and Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry, which says it is coordinating with its Greek counterparts, and also that life jackets were among the items located. We're watching for official statements to clarify the discrepancy. - Tricia
Greece (Greek: Ελλάδα, Elláda[eˈlaða]), officially the Hellenic Republic (Greek: Ελληνική ΔημοκρατίαEllīnikī́ Dīmokratía[eliniˈci ðimokraˈti.a]), also known since ancient times as Hellas (Ancient Greek: ἙλλάςEllás[ˈhɛləs]) is a country located in southeastern Europe. According to the 2011 census, Greece's population is around 10.8 million. Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki, which is commonly referred to as the co-capital.
Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands (including the Dodecanese and Cyclades), Thrace, Crete, and the Ionian Islands. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres (9,573 ft).
Greece has one of the longest histories of any country, and is considered the cradle of Western civilization, having been the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. The Greeks were first unified under Philip of Macedon in the fourth century BC. His son Alexander the Great rapidly conquered much of the ancient world, spreading Greek culture and science from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus River. Annexed by Rome in the second century BC, Greece became an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire. The first century AD saw the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Church, which shaped the modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. Falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence. Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected in large part by its 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe and the world.
Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities (precursor to the European Union) and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. It is also a member of numerous other international institutions, including the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OIF, OSCE and the WTO. Greece's unique cultural heritage, subsequently large tourism industry, and prominent shipping sector classify it as a middle power. It is the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor.