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19 Oct, 2020 16:28

Greece to expand wall on Turkish border to block migrants

Greece to expand wall on Turkish border to block migrants

Athens said on Monday it had finalized plans to build a wall along Greece’s border with Turkey, to prevent large numbers of migrants from crossing into the country illegally.

About 26 kilometers (16 miles) of wall will be added to an existing 10 km section of fence, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said, adding that the project is due to be completed by the end of April. The five-meter (15-foot) barrier would cost €63 million ($74 million).

The wall will be made of galvanized square steel tubes and concrete foundations, Greece’s public order ministry has said. In addition, a surveillance camera network is planned for covering the entire 192-km Greek-Turkish border, police officials told AP, and trials with high-powered mobile sirens have started.

The construction of the wall “was the least the government could do to provide a sense of security to Greek citizens,” PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday.

Also on rt.com Turkey wants visa liberalization and updates to migrant deal as EU summit looms

In February and March, Greek authorities accused Ankara of sending some 10,000 refugees and migrants by bus to the border, and urging them to cross. The migrants were forced back by Greek riot police and army units.

Turkey hosts nearly 4 million refugees, mostly from Syria. The EU and Ankara agreed on a deal in March 2016 to help Turkey finance housing and medical centers for the refugees. Ankara has since accused the bloc of not delivering on its commitments under the deal, including visa-free travel for Turkish citizens and an enhanced customs union.

Under the deal, the EU had pledged €6 billion ($6.5 billion) in aid for the refugees, and the full sum is expected to be paid by 2025. According to EU figures, around €3.4 billion ($3.8 billion) of all operational funds have already been sent to organizations contracted for projects under the deal.

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