Greece plans to build a fence along its border with Turkey to stop the entry of illegal immigrants, Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis told state-run Athens New Agency on Dec. 31.
Arrests of people arriving illegally from Turkey increased almost five-fold, to 31,219, in the first nine months of 2010, from 6,615 in the year-earlier period, according to Greek police data. The border with Turkey was the only land border that saw a rise, the figures show.
Greece can’t cope with more illegal immigrants and plans to impose stricter controls at port cities such as Patras, a transit point for smuggling immigrants to Italy and elsewhere in Europe, Papoutsis said, according to a transcript of his comments.
About 90 percent of illegal immigrants of all nationalities arriving in the European Union came through Greece, according to Warsaw-based Frontex, the bloc’s agency for border security.
A total of 96,398 illegal immigrants were arrested by Greek police in the nine months, compared with 96,085 in the same period a year earlier.