ATHENS – A extended fence now 25 miles long, stepped up patrols, drones for surveillance and other measures have made Greece's land border with Turkey unable to be breached by any likely wave of Afghan refugees, officials said.
The New Democracy government is also adding Coast Guard patrols in the Aegean where five Greek islands have for six years been taking in refugees and migrants fleeing war, strife and economic hardships in their homelands.
The blitzkrieg takeover of Afghanistan by the terrorist Taliban after US and NATO forces abandoned the country has raised fears of a new influx of refugees, with Greece already a prime destination for them.
Turkey is the jumping off point for those who want to reach the European Union, which has closed its doors to them although Turkey lets human traffickers keep sending them during an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal without being sanctioned.
Greece's Armed Forces Chief, General Konstantinos Floros visited the land border along the Evros River where the wall has been extended, where Turkey in February 2020 sent 10,000 migrants and urged them to cross but they were repelled by riot police and military units.
“Strong defense, interoperability and synergy with the Hellenic Police and the Fire Service,” Floros tweeted after going there with Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos to check on the barriers.
That came after Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and Panagiotopoulos said the border “will remain secure and impenetrable,” as they inspected the fence and an automated border surveillance system with it.
Border forces are on alert as well although there haven't been any initial reports about Afghan refugees heading toward Greece through Iran and Turkey or other means of passage.
“The Afghan crisis is creating a new reality in geopolitics and at the same time it is creating the possibility of migration flows,” Chrysochoidis said, reported Kathimerini.
“It is well known that we, as a European country, participate in the institutions of the European Union and within this framework a number of decisions are taken, however as a country we can not wait idly for the possible consequences,” he added.
Panagiotopoulos said that Greece will “shield itself against any possible or existing security threat,” or repeat of 2015 when a tsunami of more than a million people poured through on their way to other EU countries before the borders shut.
He said the special surveillance systems, including a fleet of drones and night cameras, had been installed across the new fence to watch for illegal crossings, reported The Voice of America.
Army bulldozers were also seen plowing across stretches of the country’s northern frontier with Bulgaria, where military trucks were unloading barbed wired to erect more fences, the news site said.
Turkey is holding 3.6 million Syrian refugees and more than 300,000 Afghans but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he won't allow his country to store them forever, and talked with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
In Greece, Afghan refugees and leftist parties are complaining about the fence they said violates human rights and the right to asylum to those fleeing danger although the EU set that precedence.