Greece says many Turkish immigrants may seek asylum there

Greece, Athens-On Monday, Greece designated neighboring Turkey as a safe country and most asylum seekers departing from the coast towards Greece as a safe country seeking international protection.

According to a joint order by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Immigration, the designation applies to asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia. Turkey said it meets all the criteria for reviewing asylum claims from these people: “because they are a member of race, religion, citizenship, political beliefs, or certain social groups. , Not at risk. In Greece. “

In theory, this could reduce the flow of immigrants to Greece, a member state of the European Union, and allow refugee applicants to return from these countries to Turkey.

The Epoch Times
A woman holding a baby at the Karatepe refugee camp on the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece, on March 29, 2021. (Panagiotis Balaskas / AP Photo)

Nevertheless, despite pressure from the EU and Athens, Ankara is its territory despite the 2016 Turkey-EU agreement aimed at stopping illegal immigrants to the block of 27 countries. There is little willingness to regain the immigrants who arrived in Greece from.

According to Greek officials, Athens has asked Turkey to regain 1,453 people so far this year, but with no success.

Nonetheless, immigration minister Notis Mitarachi said Monday’s decision was “an important step in addressing the flow of illegal immigrants” and “forced” Turkey to crack down on illegal immigrants and smuggling networks. ..

Mr. Mitarachi added that the decision “is in full line with international law and strengthens Greece’s legal means of (asylum) demands by citizens of Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia. . “

The Epoch Times
Refugees walking in the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens, Greece, on April 16, 2021. (Petros Giannakouris / AP Photo)

Greece and Turkey are historic regional rivals, and military tensions have risen dangerously across maritime boundaries last year. Athens accuses Ankara of using migrants as a weapon and points out that the Turkish government failed last year in an attempt to swing thousands of migrants and refugees towards Greece before military tensions. did.

Some human rights groups have accused Greece of illegally repatriating some migrants to Turkey without allowing them to apply for refugee status. Athens denies it.

A record 1 million people entered Greece via Turkey in 2015 (most of them seeking migration to wealthier EU countries), but the flow of people has declined significantly since then.

So far this year, over 3,000 people have arrived from Turkey to Greece, most of them by thin ships via the sea. According to the UN Refugee Organization, 47% were Afghans, 15% were Syrians, and 9% were Somalis.

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