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Greece wants to avoid “additional flows of Afghan refugees” to Europe

With the return of the Taliban to power in Kabul, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday August 23 that he wanted to prevent “Additional flows of refugees are not arriving in Europe”.

During a meeting in Athens with the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, the Greek Prime Minister explained that“It was important for the European Union to support countries close to Afghanistan in order to ensure that additional flows of refugees did not arrive in Europe”.

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Kyriakos Mitsotakis had already discussed Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on this subject.

“A new wave of migration is inevitable if the necessary measures are not taken in Afghanistan and Iran”, had alerted the Turkish president.

The ghost of the 2015 migration crisis

The return to power of the Taliban in Kabul has plunged the future of many Afghans into uncertainty and awakened in Europe the fear of a migration crisis similar to that of 2015, with the influx of millions of people fleeing the conflicts in the Near -East and transiting through Turkey.

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“Greece will not handle lightly a possible escalation of the issue of immigration and refugees”, said government spokesman Yannis Oikonomou on Monday who had already warned a few days ago that “All forces are on alert at the borders”.

According to the government, reinforcements should be deployed on the land border with Turkey in Evros and on the Aegean islands.

Final phase of the wall at the Turkish border

The extension of the wall of 40 kilometers in Evros, along the river separating Greece and Turkey, is in its final stages and new drones, cameras and radars, allowing to see up to 10 kilometers on the Turkish side must be installed, and 250 border guards are about to be hired, according to the Greek press.

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However, the strengthening of surveillance at the Greek-Turkish border had been decided in February-March 2020, when Ankara had threatened to let the refugees on its soil in Europe pass.

Tens of thousands of migrants had then flocked towards Greece, at the Kastanies border post (Pazarkule, Turkish side) where clashes had taken place for several days.

The Greek border “Will stay safe and impenetrable”, insisted Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos on Friday as he visited the new facilities in Evros.

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Greece currently hosts 40,000 asylum seekers and Afghan refugees. Afghan nationality has become the first among migrants arriving in Greece, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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