The crisis in Afghanistan has created “opportunities for an influx of migrants,” Greek Minister Michalis Chrysodis said during a visit to the Evros region, where the wall stands, “we cannot wait for the potential negative impact. Our borders remain intact.”
His comments come after Turkey called on European countries to take responsibility for Afghan migrants.
In a phone conversation with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the sharp increase in the number of people leaving Afghanistan could pose a “serious challenge for everyone”.
“A new wave of migration is inevitable if necessary measures are not taken in Afghanistan and Iran,” Erdogan said.
Construction workers at work to build the wall last June.
Ⓒ Dutch rise / AFP
Part of the Greek steel wall has been around for some time. Plans were made to extend the current 10 km by another 26 km last year, in anticipation of any new refugee crises. There will also be surveillance cameras.
Greece, which was on the front lines of the migrant crisis in 2015 when more than a million people were displaced from war and poverty in the Middle East, said it could send back any Afghans who arrived illegally through the country.
Of those who arrived in Greece during the migrant crisis, most traveled north through Europe, but about 60,000 people remained in the country. Just last year, Athens temporarily blocked new asylum applications after Erdogan said Turkey “opened the doors” for migrants to travel to the European Union.