Migrant deportation to Turkey begins
The first deportees from the hundreds on the islands of Lesbos and Chios. They are being brought to Dikili, Turkey, to be registered and accommodated in tents. The Turkey-EU deal criticized as "illegal and inhuman".
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Three Turkish ships with dozens of migrants on board have left the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios this morning to begin deportations of migrants to Turkey, under a controversial agreement between the EU and Turkey.
This morning a small ferry, the Lesvos and the catamaran Nezli Jale boarded about 131 people mostly Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. In Chios, another island in the Aegean Sea, a Turkish boat boarded other migrants, of an unknown number. They are being shipped to Dikili, in the west of Turkey, where two camps that can accommodate at least 500 refugees have been prepared.
The government of the Izmir region has stated that the migrants will stay in Dikili and in Cesme (another camp) for a short time before being transferred elsewhere.
Under the agreement, all illegal migrants arriving in Greece, or whose application for asylum has been rejected, will be deported to Turkey. For every Syrian who is sent back, the EU will accept a Syrian from a Turkish refugee camps provided that they have all the necessary documentation.
In exchange for accepting the migrants, Turkey will receive a donation of € 3 billion from the EU, in addition to faster steps for the integration of Turkey into the Union. The agreement was strongly criticized by many groups as "illegal and inhuman".
Last year, at least one million migrants and refugees arrived in Greece from Turkey. Many of them wanted to go to Germany and other northern European countries, but several EU nations have closed their borders for security and political reasons, in response to the xenophobia of certain social groups.