Greece to place more guards at Turkey border to deter refugees

Greece has announced they are quadrupling the number of guards at their border with Turkey and increasing other security defenses because of a potential influx of Syrian refugees. Thousands of Syrians have fled to Turkey after civil unrest broke out in their country.

While there has been no sign of large groups of Syrians traveling across Turkey to Greece, the government in Athens has been under pressure to crack down on illegal migration in general. Greece also recently announced that they will soon begin building a 6-mile-long fence to secure their border with Turkey in order to deter illegal immigrants. 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.

Greek Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said 1,800 additional officers had been ordered to the border with Turkey. Greece already has around 600 border guards in the area. Dendias also said 26 floating barriers will be placed along the Evros River that divides the two countries.

"There is major concern," Dendias said. "With the approval of the prime minister, 1,800 border guards are being transferred ... so that at long last we can attempt to seal the Evros area. Our aim is to put an end to Greece's porous frontier."

The border guard officers' association criticized the government's decision, saying that additional policing would have little effect unless plans to build dozens of immigrant detention centers are carried out first.

"Without other parts of the program in place, the presence of police along the border does not act as a deterrent. It acts as a magnet," the association's General Secretary Constantine Arzoumanidis said. "Immigrants know they give themselves up to the police at the border, and because of the detention space, in a few days they will be free in Athens."

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