Tensions are growing between Greece and Turkey. Migrant crossing have increased over the Greek eastern border, and authorities fear this may just be the beginning of a growing phenomenon. “Reports that some 500,000 Afghans have recently entered Turkey from Iran and Iraq have sparked fears they could be heading for Greece,” Ekathimerini reports.
Greek Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas sites how illegal migration has spiked recently over the Evros border. In 2016, 3,300 illegal migrants crossed the border. Evros border crossing increased to 5,500 in 2017, and has since jumped up to 12,000 so far in 2018.
“Greece is pointing the finger of blame for the increased numbers of undocumented migrants flowing into the the Evros region from Turkey on the easing of vigilance by Turkish border authorities,” Ekathimerini reports. “Athens has lodged complaints with the European Commission and Ankara over the relaxed stance of Turkish authorities which has allowed migrant-smuggling gangs to reportedly ‘run riot.’”
A senior official at the Citizens’ Protection Ministry suggests, “There is very strong pressure at the Evros border while at the same time direct contact between local authorities in Greece and Turkey has stopped, which is making the problem worse.”