Greece increases number of border guards on border with Turkey

Greece will deploy 250 additional guards on the border with Turkey, according to a statement made by the country’s protection minister on Sunday. “We are ready … and we are further increasing (security) forces by hiring 250 new border guards to support Greek police,” Citizens’ Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos said during a visit to the border area of Kastanies, according to a ministry statement. Greece invested in a new anti-migration arsenal including cameras, radar and a 40-kilometer (25-mile) steel fence over 5 meters (16 feet) high, to cover part of the 200-kilometer border region crossed by the Maritsa (Meric) River.

The Greek civil aviation authority on Saturday also said a tethered balloon known as an aerostat, equipped with a long-range thermal camera, had been deployed at Alexandroupolis airport in August to assist border surveillance. A Zeppelin operated by EU border agency Frontex is also active in the area, state-run Athens News Agency (ANA) said Sunday. Greece has said it will examine claims of illegal pushbacks of migrants trying to enter from Turkey, made in a major investigation published Wednesday by media from several European countries.

Greek border police have been firing bursts of deafening noise from an armored truck over the frontier into Turkey. Mounted on the vehicle, the long-range acoustic device, or “sound cannon,” is the size of a small TV set but can match the volume of a jet engine. Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants aiming to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives.

Turkey has also accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without migrants being given access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. It also accuses the European Union of turning a blind eye to this blatant abuse of human rights. Several rights groups and Turkey have accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law.

They also accuse the EU of turning a blind eye to what they say is a blatant abuse of human rights.

The Guardian recently reported that EU member states were involved in pushing back some 40,000 migrants and refugees into Turkish waters, resulting in the deaths of over 2,000 individuals during the pandemic.

The report noted that EU countries and their border agency Frontex systematically pushed back irregular migrants, including children, “using illegal tactics ranging from assault to battery during detention or transportation.”


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