ATHENS, Greece – Greece is planning to build a fence along its border with Turkey in a bid to keep out illegal immigrants, Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said in an interview on Saturday.
“Cooperation with the other EU states is going well. … Now we plan to construct a fence to deal with illegal migration,” he told the semiofficial Athens News Agency.
In the six months up to the end of November, 33,000 illegal immigrants have been detected crossing the Greek-Turkish land border. Most are from Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.
Papoutsis said the 128-mile-long fence would be like the one erected by the United States along its frontier with Mexico.
The minister did not say whether the European Union had been informed of the plan. Since November, European Union teams have been patrolling the border with Greek police.
It is the first time that a team of the EU’s Rapid Border Intervention agency Frontex has been deployed to an EU member state since the teams were created in 2007.
Papoutsis said that in 2010 an average of “200 refugees each day” had crossed into Greece from Turkey.
About 80 percent of the illegal immigrants in the EU arrive via Greece.