Greece plans to extend a cement and barbed wire fence along its northern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from entering the country, its Citizen Protection Minister said on Tuesday.
The 40-kilometer fence will be extended by another 140 kilometers, Takis Theodorikakos said during a visit to the Evros region.
The fence, originally installed in 2012, was last extended in 2021, a year after tens of thousands of asylum seekers tried to enter the European Union through Greece’s northern border, when the Turkey said it would no longer prevent them from doing so.
Historical rivals while being NATO allies, Greece and Turkey are at odds over a range of issues, including migration and energy resources in recent years. Read the full story
Greece was at the forefront of Europe’s migration crisis in 2015 and 2016 when a million refugees fleeing war and poverty from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived, mostly via Turkey.
The number of arrivals has fallen sharply since then, but in recent months Greek authorities said they had blocked significant numbers of people from entering.
According to police data, in the first seven months of the year, authorities arrested 7,484 refugees and migrants, including 3,554 in Evros.
Theorodikakos said the project aims to send a clear message of Greece’s determination “against those who invest in human suffering to serve hidden interests” and “against those who militarize migration in an attempt to blackmail Europe. “.
The Conservative government also plans to hire 250 border guards and upgrade its surveillance systems in the region.