Greece to triple length of steel wall along border with Turkey | Migration News

Athens is seeking EU funds to extend its steel border wall from 40km to 120km, with construction work due to start later this year.

Greece has announced plans to triple the length of a wall along the country’s border with Turkey, seeking financial support from the European Union for the additional construction.

Notis Mitarachi, the minister for migration affairs, said the steel wall would be extended from 40 to 120 km (25 to 75 miles), with construction work due to start later this year.

“It is a government decision to extend the border wall further and we have requested European funding,” Mitarachi said, speaking in an interview with a radio station near Athens on Sunday.

The minister posted the audio of the interview on social media on Monday. He gave no details on the estimated cost of the project.

Greece has accused Turkey, a neighbor and NATO ally, of “instrumentalising” migration as a means of pressure on EU countries.

It’s a claim dismissed by Ankara, which says it has shouldered a disproportionate burden, hosting around four million refugees, most of whom have fled the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Border Wall Fund

Last year, 12 countries, including Greece, applied for EU funding for border walls, which are currently funded from national budgets.

The European Commission is not currently paying for the construction of walls at its external borders, arguing that this would drain funds from other migration-related activities, including funding for the European border protection agency, Frontex.

Greece and Turkey have strained relations over a host of issues, including competing maritime boundary claims that affect energy exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Tensions erupted in 2020 over exploratory drilling rights in areas of the Mediterranean Sea where Greece and Cyprus claim their own exclusive economic zone, leading to a naval standoff.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would stop talking to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and cancel a key meeting between their two governments, accusing the Greek leader of opposing Turkey.

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