26 Feb. () –
The Greek authorities have reinforced security at the sea and land borders with Turkey in anticipation of a wave of refugees affected by the earthquakes on February 6.
Hundreds of additional agents have already started patrolling the border in the Evros or Maritsa river region over the weekend. In addition to the agents, surveillance measures and fences have also been reinforced.
“The mass movement of millions of people is not the solution,” said the Greek Migration Minister, Notis Mitarachi, who has defended sending emergency aid to Turkey and Syria “before this happens.”
Analysts estimate that some of the people left homeless by the earthquakes will begin their journey to Europe in the spring if the necessary humanitarian aid does not arrive.
The extension of the controversial border fence was announced on Friday whether or not the project is funded by the EU. The existing 35 kilometer, five meter high fence will double in length by the end of the year. “The fence will cover the entire river to protect the European continent from illegal flows,” Mitarachi stressed.
The Conservative government has also announced that it will have dozens more coastguards patrolling the Aegean and islands off the Turkish coast. The Prime Minister himself, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has toughened his speech against immigration in view of the elections scheduled for this year.
The EU has also allocated more money to Greece than to any other country for immigration control. With these funds, migrant detention centers have been built that have replaced the precarious camps in Samos, Leros or Cos. This year new centers will be built in Lesbos and Chios, but groups defending Human Rights denounce that they differ little from prisons.