Greece to extend fence on Turkey border

Greece to extend fence on Turkey border
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Greek minister Theodorikakos blamed Turkey of weaponizing migration in an attempt to blackmail Europe

Greece is planning to more than tripling the length of Turkish border fence to stop illegal immigration.

Athens will add 100 additional kilometers of cement and barbed-wire to its 40-kilometer fence, Reuters said on Wednesday, citing Greek Citizens’ Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos.

Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies have long been at odds over a string of issues, including migration. Athens frequently blames Ankara of deliberately encouraging migrants to cross the border, despite being obliged to stop them entering Greece, under a 2016 deal signed with the European Union. Last year, Greece extended the fence and installed a surveillance system to further secure its land border with Turkey.

Extending the border fence aims to show Greece's determination "against those who invest in human suffering to serve concealed interests" and "against those who weaponize migration in an attempt to blackmail Europe," Theodorikakos said.

In the first seven months of the year, the Greek authorities arrested 7,484 refugees and migrants, of which 3,554 were in Evros river, Reuters said, citing official data.

Meanwhile, Ankara also accuses Greece of violent and unlawful migrant pushbacks, describing the act as a crime against humanity. 

According to Turkish official data, last year Turkey rescued 15,174 migrants pushed back by Greece into the Aegean Sea.