Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Responding to an apparent escalation in Turkish moves to push migrants into Greece over land and sea, the Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) decided on Tuesday in favor of additional measures for the protection of the country’s borders.
These include the extension of the fence at Evros in the northeast over the entire length of the border, which is about 220 kilometers.
The fence currently stretches across some 40 km and an 80 km extension will move ahead immediately. The long-term goal in the coming years is to cover the entire Evros border.
The project will be undertaken with national resources if there is no European funding, which appears likely given that the government has already submitted a relevant request to the European Commission but has yet to receive a response.
Secondly, a decision was also taken to upgrade electronic monitoring capabilities, which include drones, cameras and other equipment.
With regard to incursions via the sea, where daily flows have quadrupled recently and on some days reach up to 700 people, the plan is to bolster the Hellenic Coast Guard under a program budgeted at 800 million euros.
It foresees the upgrade of equipment deployed on vessels, on land and on aerial means for the surveillance of Greek territory.
It was also agreed that an additional 250 guards that have already been selected will start training in October so that they can be stationed at the border by the end of autumn.
Additional deployment of manpower was not deemed necessary, at least for now.
The KYSEA meeting on Tuesday, which was chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, made a general assessment of the situation, with the conclusion being that Ankara is engaged in a concerted effort to breach the border fence on Evros with migrants and exert pressure on Greece into taking them in.
The consensus was that Greece fully respects international law and that it will in no way give in to the pressure exerted by Ankara. This pressure, according to estimates, is expected to continue in the next few weeks, perhaps even the next few months.
The meeting included the participation of Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, Chief of the General Staff Konstantinos Floros and other top officials.