While trying to deter further arrivals, Greece opened its first closed detention center for refugees and migrants in Samos, the island closest to Turkey, which allowed human traffickers to continue to send.
The hard-line New Democracy government also extended a border wall near the Evros River on the northern border with Turkey, stepped up patrols in the Aegean Sea and said more camps would be set up on d ‘other islands.
The closed facilities do not allow those held inside to venture out and the one in Samos has replaced an outdated and overcrowded facility, which they all are, especially in Lesvos, where most had left Turkey.
Under a largely suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union, Turkey is believed to contain some 4.4 million refugees and migrants who have fled there to flee war, conflict and conflict. economic difficulties in their countries of origin, in particular in Syria and Afghanistan.
The new Samos facility cost nearly 43 million euros ($ 50.42 million) and will house up to 3,000 people, about a third in 240 small houses and the rest in large rooms, said the Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis.
“The new closed and monitored facility offers much better living conditions, is outside the city limits and has well-reinforced security measures to protect beneficiaries, staff but also local communities,” Mitarakis said.
The remaining 550 migrants in the old establishment which once housed 7,500 people in “shameful conditions” – as the minister acknowledged – will be transferred to the new one from September 20.
Human rights groups and activists denounced conditions in Greece’s detention centers and camps as inhumane and a planned new facility in Lesvos to replace a temporary tent town set up after a fire for protesting the COVID-19 measures destroyed the infamous Moria camp did not even begin construction a year later.
Greece is bracing for a new wave of migrants after the Taliban take control of Afghanistan, although Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has vowed to stop the influx long before it reaches the Greek border.
Greece also does not know how Turkey, with whom a new phase of strained relations appears to be underway, will use the issue of migrants to put pressure on the EU-27, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used the refugees and migrants to get more Concession.
Mitarakis said facilities similar to those in Samos will be opened in Kos and Leros and in 2022 in Chios and Lesbos, although officials and residents of the islands did not want them, protesting in vain.
“Today, Samos regains peace and leaves behind Vathy’s shameful scenes,” Mitarakis said, referring to the previous closed facility for the closed detention center.