Greece finishes wall on border with Turkey, amid fears of Afghan migrant crisis
Greek government ministers toured the fence on Friday and said the overthrow of Afghanistan’s government gave greater urgency to their effort to reduce the flow of migrants across its borders.
“The Afghan crisis is creating new facts in the geopolitical sphere and at the same time it is creating possibilities for migrant flows,” Greece’s Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said in a government statement after touring the completed border wall on Friday. “As a country we cannot remain passive to the possible consequences.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis about Afghanistan on Friday, the Turkish government said.
In a television interview the day before, he urged the European Union to assist refugees from the country. “If a transitional period cannot be established in Afghanistan, the pressure on migration, which has already reached high levels, will increase even more and this situation will pose a serious challenge for everyone,” Erdogan said.
Thousands of Afghans have attempted to leave the country in the past week, since the Taliban completed a staggeringly fast takeover of power and brought to an end two decades of US involvement in the country.
“It is our decision… to defend and secure our borders,” Chrisochoidis said. “Our borders will remain secure and inviolable. We will not allow uncontrolled and erratic movements and we will not allow any attempt to violate them.”
The two countries share a border at the northeastern tip of Greece, which is frequently a destination of asylum seekers who travel through western Asia. There are also numerous routes into Greece by sea.
Last year several migrants on boats told CNN that they were pushed back from Greece, an accusation that Athens has repeatedly denied. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urged Greece to investigate reports of pushbacks at the country’s borders.