Greece is planning to build a fence along its border with Turkey in a bid to keep out illegal immigrants, Citizen Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said in an interview on Saturday, dpa reported.
"Cooperation with the other EU states is going well. .., now we plan to construct a fence to deal with illegal migration," he told the semi-official Athens News Agency ANA.
In the six months up till the end of November, 33,000 illegal immigrants have been detected crossing the Greek-Turkish land border. Most are from Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.
Papoutsis said the 206-kilometre-long fence would be like the one erected by the United States along its frontier with Mexico.
The minister did not say whether the European Union had been informed of the plan. Since November, European Union teams have been patrolling the border with Greek police.
It is the first time that a team of the EU's Rapid Border Intervention agency Frontex has been deployed to an EU member state since the teams were created in 2007.
Papoutsis said that in 2010 an average of "200 refugees each day" had crossed into Greece from Turkey.
Around 80 per of the illegal immigrants in the EU arrive via Greece. Large numbers then seek to reach Italy via ferry.
There are currently an estimated 300,000 people living illegally in Greece.
Illegal immigrants nabbed by border police are placed in detention camps, which are bursting at the seams. Human rights groups have criticized Greece's asylum policy and and conditions in the camps. dpa tt mis Author: Takis Tsafos