Two Boatloads Of Migrants Returned To Turkey From Greece
The first 131 migrants, mostly Bangladeshis, Moroccans and Pakistanis, are waiting to disembark two boats moored off the coast of Turkey. They have been returned from Greece, as part of an EU – Turkey deal that will see the EU take Syrian refugees directly from Turkey. The agreement is an attempt to stem the flow of Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian migrants arriving in Greece by boat. In return for retaking all migrants who illegally enter Greece, Turkey will receive increased aid from the EU, eased visa restrictions for its citizens travelling to EU member states and a speeding up of negotiations to join the organisation.
Frontex, the EU border agency, is running the operation and the boats have arrived in the Turkish port of Dikili. From there the migrants will return to the places in which they first registered in Turkey, or to a detention camp in the south of the country if they have never registered.
Eva Moncure, spokesperson for Frontext, told journalists that these first cases do not represent how efficiently the system is likely to work. “I hate to say this but they were easy cases. I really cannot tell you when the next readmission will happen.”
The migrants came from the Greek island of Lesbos, where 90% of the 2,800 detainees at the Moira camp have applied for asylum. Processing the claims of the mostly Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan applicants will take some time.
More than one million migrants arrived in Europe in 2015.