Greece beefs up patrols along border with Turkey


Two new quick response units of 30 men each will patrol the Greek-Turkish border along Evros river, SKAI television reported on Sunday night.

The two new units will be patrolling the Evros borderline to stem a rising tide of illegal migrants trickling in from neighboring Turkey and dismantle migrant-trafficking rings.

At the same time, the island’s border guard will be strengthened, with 530 new border guards already recruited. Of these, 240 will be stationed on Lesvos, 100 on Kos, 98 on Chios, 40 on Leros, 30 on Samos, 20 on Symi and 12 on Kastellorizo.

746 new border guards are also expected to be hired in the next recruiting period, of which 480 will be distributed in five Pre-Departure Detention Centers and another 266 will strengthen the guard of the islands.

Greek Police guard the Evros border.

RELATED: Greece strengthens defence of Evros border with blade wire fence and 400 new guards.

United Nations statistics show that illegal land entries into Greece from Turkey have doubled in the last month alone, stoking concerns of a new migration crisis as tensions between the feuding countries have flared over energy rights in the East Med.

Greek Migration Minister, Notis Mitarachis, has explained the thinking behind the decision to fortify the border.

“We want Turkey to conform to agreements it has signed to stem the flow of illegal immigration,” he said recently. “Any attempt to weaponise the suffering of refugees for geopolitical interests will not be tolerated.” 

The border reinforcement also comes amid a flurry of media reports saying that Turkey was withdrawing 40 tanks from Syria, moving them instead to the Greek-Turkish border.

Turkey has not explained the deployment but Kostas Lavdas, a professor of international relations at Panteon University in Athens, told VOA that Greece must be ready for war.

It may be a simple rotation of forces, he said, because Turkey has several military fronts open. But he added that regardless the reason, Turkey has repeatedly shown that it wants to be ready for all scenarios relating to Greece, including war.

Greece, he said, may want to avoid that but it also needs to be prepared for it.

READ MORE: TGH Exclusive: Evros border guards empowered by support of Greek diaspora.




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