Greek government ministers walked around the fence on Friday and said the overthrow of the Afghan government made more urgent their efforts to reduce the flow of migrants across its borders.
The country was at the center of the migration crisis in Europe in the mid-2010s, when millions of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq came to the continent. Since then, Greece has taken a tough stance, pushing back calls from Turkey and international organizations to allow more migrants to cross its borders.
“The Afghan crisis creates new facts in the geopolitical sphere and at the same time it creates possibilities for the flow of migrants,” Greek Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrisochoidis said in a government statement after visiting the border wall on Friday. completed. “As a country, we cannot remain passive in the face of possible consequences. “
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday about Afghanistan, the Turkish government said.
The unapologetic stance of US President Joe Biden, who has come under criticism for the chaotic US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, has dismayed European leaders as they are now bracing for a possible refugee emergency.
Thousands of Afghans tried to leave the country last week, since the Taliban completed an incredibly swift takeover and ended two decades of US involvement in the country.
Crowds of desperate residents have gathered at Kabul airport in search of a place on Western military flights. Those who cannot leave face a return to a repressive Taliban regime, which has banished women from its streets and workplaces and used the death penalty for crimes such as female adultery, homosexuality and rejection of Islam when he was in power between 1996 and 2001.
“It’s our decision (…) to defend and secure our borders,” Chrisochoidis said. “Our borders will remain secure and inviolable. We will not allow uncontrolled and erratic movements and we will not allow any attempt to violate them. “
Even before the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the pandemic had worsened the migrant crisis. An agreement was reached between Turkey and the European Union in 2016 to stop migrants traveling from the Middle East to Europe, but last year Turkey approved the passage of migrants to the continent, claiming that she had “reached her capacity.”
The two countries share a border at the northeastern tip of Greece, which is frequently a destination for asylum seekers traveling through Western Asia. There are also many routes to Greece by sea.
Last year, several migrants aboard boats told CNN they had been turned away from Greece, a charge Athens has repeatedly denied. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has urged Greece to investigate reports of pushbacks at the country’s borders.