Greece announces plans to build border fence to deter illegal immigrants

Greece announced this week that they will soon begin building a 6-mile-long fence to secure their border with Turkey in order to deter illegal immigrants.

Thousands of illegal immigrants cross from Turkey into Greece at the 6-mile-long point each year. Greek Public Order Minister Christos Papoutsis announced the fence plans at the border village of Kantanies. The fence will be 13 feet tall and building will start next month, expecting to finish by September. It will cost more than €3 million.

"This is an opportunity for us to send a clear message ... to all the EU that Greece is fully compliant with its border commitments," Papoutsis said. "Traffickers should know that this route will be closed to them."

Although Greece is one of the 26 European nations in the Schengen Area, Turkey is not part of the agreement. Therefore Greece is required to maintain its border controls with Turkey. Most Schengen members are in the European Union.

Not everyone agreed with the border fence though. During Papoutsis' announcement of the fence, about 40 people protested nearby, claiming the fence is a violation of human rights and the money should not be spent on it at a time when Greece is suffering a financial crisis that has led to punishing austerity measures and high unemployment.

Most of Greece's 125-mile border with Turkey runs along a river known as Evros in Greece and Meric in Turkey, but there is a small stretch of dry land between the two countries which is where the new fence will be built.

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