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Only 189 migrants returned to Turkey despite refugee deal with the EU

EPA/YANNIS KOLESIDIS GREECE OUT
A resident waves to an overcrowded fishing boat carrying refugees and migrants after they crossed the Aegean sea from Turkey, Greece, 11 October 2015. A recently agreed European Union plan to relocate tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Italy and Greece elsewhere in the bloc will start at the end of this week, a top EU official said 06 October. Lesbos - the third-largest Greek island and home to nearly 90,000 people - has been overwhelmed with migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq trying to reach Europe. More than 200,000 refugees arrived on the island this year alone, according to the UN refugee agency. Many of the refugees begin their journey to Lesbos across sparkling Aegean waters in Turkey.

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According to a new EU Commission report, despite the 2016 refugee deal between the EU and Turkey, only 189 irregular migrants who crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece were returned to Turkey in 2019.
Under the deal, Turkey has promised to stop the flow of Syrian migrants travelling to the EU, which in return has promised to reexamine membership talks for Turkey’s EU accession.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has recently warned the EU for an incoming refugee wave from Syria’s Idlib province, saying that “the negative impact of the pressure we will be subjected to will be something that all European nations, especially Greece, will also feel”.
The report found that 1,995 Syrian asylum seekers were returned to Turkey from 2016 to 2019:  801 in 2016, 683 in 2017, 332 in 2018 and 189 in 2019. Meanwhile, in the same period, the EU has resettled 25,660 Syrians coming via Turkey.
Turkey has received a total of €6 billion in funding, €3 billion in 2016 and €3 billion in 2018. However, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has recently accused the EU of failing to provide the financial aid agreed in the deal.
The refugee deal was also discussed by Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to the country last week.

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