Greece requests return of 2,000 migrants to Turkey

Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis has submitted a new request to the European Union border protection agency, Frontex, and the European Commission for the immediate return to Turkey of 1,908 “illegal economic migrants” residing at identification centres on Greece’s islands.

In a letter to the vice president of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Oliver Varelli, and Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri, Mitarakis said these 1,908 migrants are not entitled to international protection, based on the first paragraph of the 2016 EU-Turkey Joint Declaration. This states that migrants entering Greece from Turkey after March 2016 must be returned.

Mitarakis said expedited inspection procedures for COVID-19 in Greece and the acceleration of the asylum process have created the right conditions for the resumption of safe returns.

(A version of this article was originally published by the Kathimerini newspaper and is reproduced by permission.)