ATHENS – Greece’s New Democracy government is moving to extend an anti-refugee steel wall along the Evros River border as Turkey has stepped up provocations, bringing fear of a conflict.
Topped with barbed wire, it’s meant to keep out asylum seekers who went to Turkey fleeing war, strife and economic hardships in their homeland, primarily Syria and Afghanistan and also sub-Saharan Africa and and as far Pakistan.
The 40-kilometer (24.9-mile) fence will be more than tripled, with another 140 kilometers (87 miles) added to make it a total of 180 kilometers (111.9 miles) as a deterrent to trying to cross.
The fence, initially installed in 2012, was last extended in 2021, a year after 10,000 refugees were sent there by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and urged to cross, repelled by riot police and Greek army units.
Police data showed that in the first seven months of 2022 that police arrested 7,484 refugees and migrants, of which 3,554 were in Evros and patrols stepped up to include drones and electronic surveillance measures too.
Theorodikakos said the project aims to send a clear message of Greece’s determination “against those who invest in human suffering to serve concealed interests” and “against those who weaponise migration in an attempt to blackmail Europe,” said the Reuters news agency and Kathimerini.
In August, the national security council already decided to fence the entire length of the Evros border with Turkey and seal it off after the New Democracy government said it would try to keep out any more refugees or migrants.