Greece proposes border wall with Turkey following Frontex deployment
(5 January 2011)
In the first week of 2011, Greece has proposed a 12 kilometre (8 mile) border fence close to the towns of Orestiada (Greece) and Edirne (Turkey). The majority of the Greek border with Turkey is formed by the Maritsa river (Greek Evros river) as well as the Arda river, however there is a short section of land border where the fencing is proposed. Initially Greece had planned for a 206 kilometre fence along the entirety of the border with Turkey, however criticisms from the European Union and human rights groups apparently resulted in the drastically changed plans. According to the Citizen Protection Ministry, the fencing will be 12.5km in length, and three metres high. The European Union Commission, along with several human rights groups, have criticised the Greek government calling the border fence plan a short-term solution that does not address the wider causes of migration, and that does not respect the human rights of migrants.
This follows the recent deployment of border patrol agents by Frontex, known as RABIT’s, in efforts to stem the increased levels of migration through this region. Reports from Frontex suggest that there has been a 44 percent decrease in crossings in this region since the additional border patrol agents were deployed in November 2010; on average 245 persons a day were reported crossing in to Greece in October 2010. The RABIT agents are to remain until at least March of this year.
Source: ‘Greece plans Turkey border fence to tackle migration’, BBC News, 3 January 2011; ‘Greece tones down plans for a border fence after harsh criticism’, Dagmar Breitenbach, Deutsche Welle, 3 January 2011; ‘Greece to build border barrier to control illegal immigration’, Blanka Kolenikova and Carina O’Reilly, IHS Global Insight, 4 January 2011