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Tuesday, January 4, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Greece plans wall on Turkish border, 'can't take' influx of illegals

ATHENS — Greece, inundated by illegal migrants, plans to build a wall along its border with Turkey.


Officials said the Athens government would build a security barrier along Greece's 206-kilometer border with Turkey. They said the barrier would contain advanced sensors and monitored by unmanned aerial vehicles and other platforms.

"Greece can't take it anymore," Greek Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said.

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Relations between Greece and Turkey have long been strained over the issue of illegal migrants from North Africa and other regions. Both Ankara and Athens have accused the other of diverting illegal migrants.

"Greek society has reached its limits in taking in illegal immigrants," Papoutsis said on Jan. 1.

Officials said Greece serves as the entry point to the European Union for migrants from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia. They said at least 300,000 illegal aliens were residing in Greece.

Officials said Greece would model its border barrier after the United States. The U.S. government has overseen construction of a multi-layered security system along the border with Mexico, a project that includes land and air patrols.

"We plan to build a barrier on the land border to block unauthorized immigration," Papoutsis said.

Officials said the Greek government would draft plans for the border wall in 2011 and later issue tenders. They said the focus of the project would be the closure of a 12.5 kilometer stretch of the Evros river, which separates Greece from Turkey. Greece has already been aided by the EU's Frontex anti-migration agency.

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