NEWS

Borders fortified over migration concern

Greece taking preventive measures in Evros, east Aegean in light of Afghanistan developments

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Preparing for the possibility of migration pressure from Turkey in the coming weeks due to the developments in Afghanistan, law enforcement authorities, the coast guard and the armed forces are drafting plans to police and shield the Evros land border and the eastern Aegean.

The issue was discussed at Wednesday’s Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), with measures on the table similar to those implemented in March 2020 during the crisis at the Evros border.

Police sources have told Kathimerini that the construction of the 27-kilometer-long fence at Evros has already been completed, as well as the installation and operation of the automated border surveillance system.

Relevant announcements are expected in September. The system includes 11 new cameras and radar, and has the ability to see up to 15 kilometers inside Turkish territory and transfer images to the Hellenic Police (ELAS) operational centers along the border.

At the same time, the police chiefs in the area have stressed that they have already decided to increase patrols and surveillance at the border, adding that for the previous 24 hours they had been appraising the operational means at their disposal, such as tear gas and flash grenades.

A police source revealed that drones have already been activated to monitor the border and that the armed forces are expected to increase their presence in the area in the coming days.

Similarly, the coast guard is expected to proceed in the immediate future with the deployment of personnel and means in the eastern Aegean, noting that if the conditions require it, they will put into effect a plan similar to that of March 2020.

“We have to make it clear that our stance will be decisive,” said a senior official.

There are also suggestions for a suspension of the asylum process, as was the case during the recent crisis with Turkey.

At present, however, migratory flows over land and sea borders are described as “normal for the summer.”

The government will also take initiatives for a common strategy of EU states, which, in the event of a generalized crisis, will be called upon to deal with migratory pressure and to motivate Turkey to stem flows into Europe.