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More Crossing into Greece over Turkish Land Border: Minister

Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas

Greece’s Minister of Migration Policy has said ongoing tensions with Turkey “creates problems” on managing migration flows, as the authorities reveal hundreds of people were detained for crossing the Evros River since the weekend.
Dimitris Vitsas was speaking on Greek radio when he said that “tension [with Turkey] does not favor the management of the refugee and immigration issue”.
As camps on Greece’s Aegean islands become increasingly overcrowded and those there face long waits to be either returned to Turkey or taken to the Greek mainland, many more are now attempting to cross the land border into northwestern Greece instead.
Vitsas said there had been a 33 percent increase in refugee inflows in April compared to the same month in 2017. In Evros, this had tripled the minister said, because it is perceived that the land crossing is safer.
However, the increased number of illegal crossings has caused problems for the Greek authorities, for example having to rescue migrants from fast-flowing flood waters.
The two Greek soldiers who accidentally crossed into Turkey last month and are being held in a Turkish prison had reportedly been patrolling the Evros border for migrant crossings.
Last month, the German police claimed Greece still remained one of the most important entry points for irregular migrants and people smugglers.
“In the region there is a great deal of pressure from migratory flows because in neighboring Turkey there are almost four million refugees, more than any other country on earth,” Der Spiegel wrote.

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