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Greece to bolster border with Turkey over Afghanistan migration fears

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
Police officers patrol alongside a steel wall at Evros river, near the Greek village of Poros.
Police officers patrol alongside a steel wall at Evros river, near the Greek village of Poros.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File
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Greece says it will increase the number of border guards on the country’s border with Turkey, over fears of increased migration from Afghanistan.

An additional 250 officers will be deployed at the country's Turkish land border, where thousands of migrants have tried to cross over the past year.

Another 800 extra border guard personnel will also be hired to staff airports and regions close to the border, Greece's Interior Ministry said.

The number of border guards at the Turkish border has already increased from 1,000 to 1,500 in the last few months.

Athens says the latest boost of support was spurred in part by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

Greece has in recent years toughened its migration policy, extending a land border wall with Turkey and installing high-tech surveillance to try and deter asylum-seekers from making the crossing.

In February 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he would let migrants through to the European Union.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said a growing number of front-line EU countries were pressing the European Commission for tougher action to deter migration.

"Europe is not bordered by warring countries," Mitarachi said.

"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."

Poland and Lithuania have been struggling to cope with an unusually high number of migrants, most from Iraq and Afghanistan, arriving at their borders with Belarus.

Brussels has accused Belarus’ government of encouraging the flow of migrants to exert pressure on the entire EU.

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

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