Greece Defends Use of Sound Cannons on Border After Humanitarian Group Complaints

A police car patrols along a steel fence along Evros river, Greece's river border with Turkey, near the village of Poros on June 8, 2021. - The area is where the Greek State has chosen to deploy a new anti-migration arsenal including cameras, radar and a 40-kilometre (25-mile) steel fence …

The Greek government has defended its use of sound cannons along its land border with Turkey after humanitarian groups stated that the devices were dangerous.

The Swiss-based group Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor spoke out about the sound cannon technology saying the technology can have dangerous effects on the human body.

“Despite their small size, these high-pitched devices can match the volume of a jet engine and their powerful sound waves can cause significant pain and shock to the human body, causing exposed people suffering that go from serious health problems and severe pain to deafness.,” the organisation stated.

In response, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis stated “What the police do, they must do in their own way,” during a press conference alongside European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson this week, Kronen Zeitung reports.

“I will not talk about operational issues that affect the Hellenic (Greek) police,” Mitarakis told reporters.

The EU Commissioner, meanwhile, started that the sound cannons were “a strange way for Greece to protect its borders and noted that the European Union had not financed the deployment of the technology adding, “And I hope that this is in line with fundamental rights.”

“Our view is that we will use technology in any way that is not in violation of international law,” Mitarakis  said and added, “The critical question is, everything we do needs to be effective and (be) in line with EU regulations.”

The enhanced border measures come as Greece has also declared Turkey a safe third country earlier this week, which will mean that it will not accept asylum applications from migrants coming from Turkey.

“Turkey is designated a safe country for asylum-seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia,” the Greek Foreign Ministry and Migration and Asylum ministry said in a joint statement Monday.

“The designation of Turkey as a safe third country is an important step in tackling illegal migration flows and the criminal activity of smuggling networks,” Minister Mitarakis said.

Greece has seen a large decline of migrants during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic but immediately before the pandemic began, Turkey allowed thousands of asylum seekers to the northern border after “opening the gates” in February of 2020.

The following month, after the border had been closed due to the pandemic, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated, “When the coronavirus pandemic is over, we are not going to deter any immigrants who want to return to the Greek-Turkish border in Pazar.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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