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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Greece to triple the length of border fence with Turkey

Greece is set to further seal its land borders with rival neighbor Turkey, tripling the length of a high fence built to prevent illegal migrants from breaking in. The plan comes as Greece faces a sudden increase in refugees, both along its land and sea borders, as relations with its old enemy deteriorate.

Greece began expanding security fences along its rugged border with Turkey last year, a decade after Athens initially built a 13-kilometer fence to stem the tide of illegal migration into the region.

But the sudden spurt in refugee flows has now alarmed the authorities.

“There is a clear attempt by Turkey to help the migrants in creating a crisis with Greece,” Migration Minister Notice Mitarachi said. And the numb, he added, speak for itself.

While inflows from the one million mainly Syrians spread across the country declined dramatically during the 2015 refugee crisis, an estimated 1,000 migrants make illegal crossings every day.

This is about 20 percent more than last year.

Hundreds of additional border guards have been deployed in recent weeks to increase patrols on the so-called Avros frontier. But with fears of a major migrant push, Mitarachi said Greece was not wasting time moving forward with plans to add 80 additional kilometers of barbed wire and steel to the existing 40-km fence.

It is not clear how soon the project will start. But until it works, Greece will have to deal with increasing migratory flows along its maritime borders… mainly in the massive Aegean waterway that divides Greece and Turkey.

Nikos Spanos, an admiral of the Greek Coast Guard, described the dangers posed by this latest surge.

“Let’s not have kids ourselves,” he said. “Turkey controls all migratory flows in Greece and Europe … and if the flood gates open further, it will be very difficult for us to stop these flows from flooding many Greek islands.”

In June, Migration Ministry officials counted nearly three thousand migrants who tried to cross illegally from Turkey into Greece in a total of 82 attempts. Only 72 asylum seekers managed to escape the interception.

With relations between Greece and long-time foe Turkey sinking to their lowest point in years, officials here are preparing for the worst: 2015 saw the biggest migrant push in Europe since World War II .

Although they are members of NATO, Greece and Turkey have been competing for air and maritime rights in the Aegean for decades. In recent weeks, however, Turkey has threatened to challenge Greece’s sovereignty, claiming that more than 100 Aegean islands are its own, not Greece’s.

Ankara is also increasingly accusing Athens of building a military presence on some of them in violation of international treaties, a charge that Greece vehemently denies.

Government sources said VOA Greece would raise Turkey’s provocative stand at a meeting of NATO leaders in Spain this week.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
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