Hundreds of migrants flee Turkey daily to Greece

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Athens / Berlin / Ankara The situation in the Aegean is becoming more and more dramatic. Hundreds of migrants transfer daily from Turkey to the Greek islands. The deputy spokeswoman for the Federal Government, Martina Fietz, said on Friday in Berlin: "We are watching the development with concern."

Humanitarian organizations denounce that the EU deliberately endures thousands of migrants in miserable conditions in the registration camps. And threats come from Turkey.

In August, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, 8103 people from Turkey transferred to the Greek Aegean Islands. In August 2018, just under 3200 had come. The registries on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos are completely overcrowded.

Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay, however, reiterated the Turkish president's threat the previous day, saying that one might be "forced" to "open the doors" to refugees in the country towards Europe.

"Yesterday's statement from our president is neither a threat nor a bluff. It's a fact, "said Oktay, according to state news agency Anadolu, on the fringe of a lecture forum in Italy on Friday. Turkey will not pay the bill for crises created by other countries. Erdogan had demanded more support for the refugees in Turkey.

The EU refugee agreement with Turkey

Turkey has received around 3.6 million refugees in neighboring Syria since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, more than any other country in the world. The culture of welcoming culture had recently turned, mainly because of the poor economic situation.

Ankara is also concerned about continued fighting in northern Syria, especially in the last rebel stronghold Idlib, further refugee movements towards Turkey. Oktay said, "If the crisis in Idlib and in the region continues and an additional refugee crisis begins, then Europe has no chance to escape it."

"A Political Crisis"

According to the aid organization Doctors Without Borders, the refugees on the Greek islands are deliberately abandoned by the European Union and Greece. "This is a policy-driven crisis," said Tommaso Santo, MSF's country coordinator in Greece, on Friday.

The Greek and European authorities have been imprisoning asylum seekers – including many minors – in intolerable conditions on the Greek islands for more than three years. Some children would have tried to kill themselves.

According to the Greek Ministry of Citizens' Protection, 20,594 migrants are currently awaiting registration in the eastern Aegean islands, which has 6,338 people. Around 3500 are housed in smaller camps or in apartments.

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Philippe Leclerc, head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) mission in Athens, told the semi-official Greek news agency ANA-MPA on Friday that a total of 7,000 migrants could be immediately taken out of the islands to the mainland because they are considered vulnerable. The problem is that even the camps on the mainland are crowded, it said.

The so-called EU-Turkey Agreement stipulates that the EU may send all migrants who are illegally to the Greek islands and who are not granted asylum in Greece back to Turkey. In return, for every Syrian returned to Turkey, the EU legally adopts another Syrian residing in Turkey.

Due to a shortage of staff, asylum procedures in Greece are slow to progress. When the EU-Turkey agreement came into force in March 2016, only about 5,800 people lived in the camps.

The new conservative Greek government, in office since July, had already announced that it would speed up asylum procedures. Anyone who does not receive asylum, should immediately be sent back to Turkey. There should be more staff to handle asylum applications.

More: In Turkey, social envy is growing in Syria. The pressure in Turkey is growing to terminate the refugee agreement with the EU.

(TagToTranslate) Asylum (t) Foreign Policy with Country (t) Foreigners (t) UNHCR (t) Doctors Without Borders (t) Uno

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