Turkey

More migrants land in Turkey under refugee deal

Among them are Afghan, Iranian, and Jordanian nationals who all arrived from Greece

26.04.2016
More migrants land in Turkey under refugee deal ( Mutlu Hazer - Anadolu Agency )

By Emre Umurbilir, Durmus Genc and Esber Ayaydin

IZMIR / MUGLA, Turkey

Nearly 50 migrants arrived in Turkey from Greece on Tuesday under the EU-Turkey refugee deal, unnamed officials from the Turkish Immigration Department and police said.

A boat carrying four Afghans and an Iranian from the Greek island of Chios landed in the resort district of Cesme in Izmir province on Turkey’s western coast, officials said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

After being fingerprinted and registered by immigration officials, the migrants, including a woman and a child from Afghanistan, were sent by bus to Dikili district of Izmir, where more people are expected to arrive later in the day.

Separately, another 31 migrants landed in the coastal district of Milas in the southwestern Mugla province. Arriving from the Greek island of Kos, the migrants were given medical checks and fingerprinted in tents set up by the Health Ministry.

They are expected to be sent by bus to the repatriation camp in the northwestern Kirklareli province, the officials said.

Later on Tuesday, another 13 migrants, including two children, arrived in Dikili on a boat from the island of Lesbos. After being fingerprinted and given medical checks, they were sent by bus to the camp in Kirklareli.

Signed on March 18, the EU-Turkey agreement allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU. The first batch of returnees arrived in Dikili on April 4, followed by a second group four days later.

The deal also provides a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) aid package to help Turkey care for millions of refugees, visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the EU, and fast-tracked EU accession for Turkey.

It is aimed at breaking the human-smuggling gangs who have been trafficking refugees across the Aegean Sea, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 154,000 people have crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece so far this year and 376 have died during the voyage.

*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Hale Turkes contributed to this story from Ankara.

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