The number of irregular migrants who entered Greece from Turkey increased by 37 percent in 2018 over the previous year, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Markos Bolaris has said.
“We witnessed a significant increase of migratory flows, both at sea and land borders, in 2018, which amounted to 37 percent. According to the latest statistics, flows in the first three months of 2019 have increased by 7 percent compared to the same period of time last year,” said Bolaris in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News at the Greek Consulate in İstanbul.
In March 2016 Turkey and the European Union agreed to end irregular migration and replace it instead with legal channels of resettlement of refugees to the union. The aim is to replace disorganized, chaotic, irregular and dangerous migratory flows by organized, safe and legal pathways to Europe for those entitled to international protection in line with EU and international law.
“Our two countries have been working closely on the joint EU-Turkey statement of March 18, 2016. To date, its implementation has been rather satisfactory and we are committed to continue to make every effort to achieve the best possible results,” the Greek minister said about the agreement.
Bolaris also urged Turkey to re-implement its readmission deal with Greece, referring to a deal struck in 2013, with Turkey agreeing to take back migrants who traveled illegally to the EU.
The deal says for every Syrian migrant sent back to Turkey from the Greek islands, one Syrian in Turkey will be resettled in the EU.