In September 2011, Greece started constructing a 12,5 Km anti-immigration fence across Evros River which is the natural Greek-Turkish border. From December 2012 (when the fence was completed) the safest and easiest route to Europe has been shut down.

In 2015 the influx of refugees and migrants traveling across the Mediterranean Sea dramatically increased resulting to an unprecedented refugee crisis across Southeast Europe. According to UNHCR, approximately 850,000 refugees and migrants, including children, arrived in Greece by sea in 2015. More than 60% of these arrived in Lesbos, a Greek island around eight nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The main countries of citizenship of asylum seekers, accounting for more than half of the total, were Syria, Afghanistan and Iran.