EU Migrant Crisis Deal Backfires As Half As Many Migrants Sent To Turkey Are Brought Back To Greece By The Coastguard.

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The first boat carrying migrants from Greece has arrived in Turkey as part of an EU deal to deport those who have failed to gain asylum.

Ships carrying around 200 migrants and refugees – more than 130 from Lesbos and over 60 from Chios –  set off across the Aegean Sea from the islands on Monday.

The first boat with several dozen passengers on board arrived at Dikili on the Turkish coast at around 9.20am (local time), accompanied by two Turkish coastguard vessels and a police helicopter.

A boat carrying migrants and refugees from Greece arrives in Dikili, Turkey

The first ferry with migrants docks in Dikili, Turkey

They were taken to a small white tent on the quayside, behind security fencing, where they were met by immigration officials as they disembarked.

“All of the migrants returned are from Pakistan except for two migrants from Syria who returned voluntarily,” Giorgos Kyritsis, a spokesman for a government refugee crisis committee, told state television.

Turkey EU Migration Deal

He said there was “no timetable” for further deportations, adding the examination of asylum applications “will take some time”.

Sky’s Michelle Clifford in Lesbos said: “The whole idea about this scheme is to deter people from making that dangerous sea crossing from Turkey here to Greece.

“But as those ferries left here we filmed 58 migrants being brought to shore by the coastguard – so half as many almost as were taken away to Turkey – arrived from Turkey. Clearly the message they will be sent back is not deterring people at the moment.”

Clifford earlier spoke to charity workers from Save The Children who have been talking to migrants, mainly Syrians, at a detention centre on the Greek island.

“They told us women and children there were sleeping in the outdoors, and some of them we were told disturbingly had said that they would commit suicide, they would jump overboard, if they were sent back to Turkey because they couldn’t bear the thought potentially of being sent back to Syria,” she said.

Migrants protest in Greece against plans to deport them back to Turkey
 Migrants Protest In Greece

As each migrant was led aboard a ship, a small group of protesters outside the port in Lesbos shouted “shame on you!”

Riot police officers also boarded the boats.

Europe’s leaders are hoping the controversial plan of collective deportations from Greece will alleviate the migrant crisis affecting the continent.

Journalist Andrew Connelly, on Lesbos, told Sky News: “We think that there should be around 250 taken to Turkey today and possibly by the end of the week another 750.

“What we hear from my contacts in the detention centres is that we didn’t see violent scenes of refugees being forced by police to get on the buses. There is no way of knowing how the situation may escalate.”

Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala said they had made provision to receive 500 people on the first day, but the Greeks had only provided the names of 400.

In Dikili in Izmir Province, contractors were quickly converting the port into a makeshift readmission centre.

Although the first migrants to be sent back are expected to be from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, Syrians who have illegally crossed will also be expelled under the deal if they have arrived since 20 March.

Europe’s politicians are hoping the mass expulsions will act as a deterrent and discourage migrants from boarding the smugglers boats, but already there are signs it is not working.

The deal will of course fail if large numbers of people continue to make the crossing.

200316 Migrants arriving on the Greek Island Of Lesbos
Confusion Over EU Deal In Camp

In Dikili, migrants are still arriving hoping to connect with the smugglers and get to Europe.

Human rights groups argue the collective deportations break international law and mark a dark time in Europe’s history.

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Greece Migrant Crisis Summit: NATO Ships To Be Deployed To Rescue And Return Migrants Back To Turkey


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David Cameron is to push EU leaders at a migration crisis summit to make sure refugees crossing to Europe are sent back to Turkey.

David Cameron is in Brussels as EU leaders gather for an emergency summit to discuss the growing migrant crisis.

Speaking as he arrived, Mr Cameron said the crisis was “the greatest challenge facing Europe today”.

He made reference to the EU referendum, saying: “Even outside the EU we’d be affected by a migration crisis like this.”

The UK has announced it is sending a Royal Navy ship to help patrol the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey to help tackle the people-smuggling gangs trafficking thousands of migrants into Europe.

Speaking to Sky News, the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Mounts Bay would be tasked with uncovering and disrupting the gangs trading in “human misery”.

Michael Fallon

The NATO mission is not mandated to turn migrants back but is, under international law, obliged to rescue any migrants on vessels in distress.

“There are thousands attempting this crossing now. The Turkish and indeed the Greek authorities are getting overwhelmed and I think it is right that NATO should bring its ships to come to help to try and save lives where they can,” Mr Fallon said.

Crucially, the NATO ships will be instructed to send migrants back to Turkey and not take them onwards to Greece.

This, leaders hope, will prevent the presence of the NATO ships acting as a magnet – migrants will not be encouraged to take the journey in the belief that a NATO ship will rescue them and take them to Europe.

“People will go on attempting this very dangerous sea crossing if they don’t believe they are going to be sent back again and that is what the Prime Minister will be pressing our European partners to get agreed in Brussels today,” Mr Fallon said.


NATO has yet to explain how a maritime mission can successfully counter trafficking gangs who rarely take to the waters, choosing instead to stay in Turkey and offer migrants discounts if they pilot the boats.

The EU meeting, which includes the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, is yet another convened to find solutions to the growing emergency.

:: Refugees ‘Beaten’ By Macedonian Border Guards

The latest figures reveal that more than 125,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe so far this year. It is estimated around 2,000 are crossing into Greece each day.

It is understood that all 28 EU leaders will agree that member states must use “all available means” to stem the flow of people into the EU, but it’s not yet clear quite what that means.

Migrant In Greece Hannah

A draft of the summit’s conclusions, leaked last night, suggested that the leaders will conclude formally that the so-called Balkan corridor, the route migrants have been taking from Greece through the Balkans to Western Europe, is now closed.

That would represent an EU-level acknowledgment of a situation that has been a fact on the ground for two weeks.

However, reports in the German media indicate that the German government is unhappy about such a declaration, possibly because of the growing humanitarian problem the closed route is causing.

The Greek government has said that 36,000 people are currently trapped in Greece following a unilateral decision by Macedonia to close its border.



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