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Greece beefing up Turkish border security

A primary concern is impeding the flow of illegal migration from Afghanistan by The Associated. Press | October 12, 2021 at 4:25 a.m.
A police officer stands guard at the new closed monitored facility for migrants and refugees in Zervou village, on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, Greece, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Greek authorities have moved ten days ago asylum-seekers living in a squalid camp on the island of Samos into a new facility on the island, where access are more strictly controlled. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

THESSALONIKI, Greece -- Greece will increase the number of guards on the country's border with Turkey, fearing a spike in illegal migration linked to the crisis in Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

An additional 250 officers will join the 1,500-strong border force over several months, with the number rising from around 1,000 early last year. About 800 extra personnel will also be hired to staff airports and regions close to the Greek-Turkish border.

The increases were spurred in part by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, according to authorities. Greece has toughened its migration policy and border policing over the past two years, extending a wall along its land border with Turkey and installing a high-tech surveillance network to try to deter asylum-seekers from making the crossing.

Greece has also denied mounting allegations by human rights groups that migrants caught after crossing into Greece are being summarily deported without being allowed to claim asylum.

In parliament Monday, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said a growing number of front-line countries in the 27-nation European Union were pressing the European Commission, the EU's executive branch, for tougher action to deter migration.

"Europe is not bordered by warring countries. And the majority of people arriving are not at risk in the last transit country, so it's important to redefine how [migration policy] works and how border security works," Mitarachi said.

Poland and Lithuania in recent months have been struggling to cope with an unusually high number of migrants, most from Iraq and Afghanistan, arriving at their borders with Belarus. They accuse Belarus' government of encouraging the flow to exert pressure on the entire EU.

Greece, Poland and Lithuania were among 12 countries that sent a letter to the European Commission last week calling for more extensive EU measures against illegal immigration.

"Countries from the north, south and central Europe sent this letter," Mitarachi said.

A partial view of the new closed monitored facility for migrants and refugees in Zervou village, on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, Greece, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Greek authorities have moved ten days ago asylum-seekers living in a squalid camp on the island of Samos into a new facility on the island, where access are more strictly controlled. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A partial view of the new closed monitored facility for migrants and refugees in Zervou village, on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, Greece, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Greek authorities have moved ten days ago asylum-seekers living in a squalid camp on the island of Samos into a new facility on the island, where access are more strictly controlled. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
FILE - In this Friday, May 21, 2021 file photo, police officers patrol alongside a steel wall at Evros river, near the village of Poros, at the Greek - Turkish border, Greece. Greece will further increase a border guard at its frontier with Turkey, fearing an upcoming spike in attempted illegal migration, officials said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
FILE - In this Friday, May 21, 2021 file photo, police officers patrol alongside a steel wall at Evros river, near the village of Poros, at the Greek - Turkish border, Greece. Greece will further increase a border guard at its frontier with Turkey, fearing an upcoming spike in attempted illegal migration, officials said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
FILE - In this Friday, May 21, 2021 file photo, a view of a steel wall at Evros river, near the village of Poros, at the Greek - Turkish border, Greece. Greece will further increase a border guard at its frontier with Turkey, fearing an upcoming spike in attempted illegal migration, officials said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
FILE - In this Friday, May 21, 2021 file photo, a view of a steel wall at Evros river, near the village of Poros, at the Greek - Turkish border, Greece. Greece will further increase a border guard at its frontier with Turkey, fearing an upcoming spike in attempted illegal migration, officials said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
FILE - In this Friday, May 21, 2021 file photo, police drone operator Thanassis Kyriakidis pilots a drone during a patrol at Evros river, near the village of Feres, at the Greek -Turkish border, Greece. Greece will further increase a border guard at its frontier with Turkey, fearing an upcoming spike in attempted illegal migration, officials said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)
FILE - In this Friday, May 21, 2021 file photo, police drone operator Thanassis Kyriakidis pilots a drone during a patrol at Evros river, near the village of Feres, at the Greek -Turkish border, Greece. Greece will further increase a border guard at its frontier with Turkey, fearing an upcoming spike in attempted illegal migration, officials said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)

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