Greek minister praises Turkey-EU deal on refugees

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The Greek migration minister on Wednesday described the Turkey-EU refugee deal as an “antidote” to the closed-door policy towards refugees adopted by some European countries.

Axar.az reports citing Turkish media.

Speaking at the regional conference on production and reconstruction in the North Aegean in Greece’s Lesbos Island, Dimitris Vitsas slammed some European countries who are ignoring the deteriorating living conditions in refugee camps.

“The antidote for European countries applying a closed-door policy [towards refugees] is the refugee deal between EU and Turkey,” Vitsas said.

He said the number of the refugees in overcrowded camps would be cut down by September 2018.

"There are as many as 15 refugee camps in the islands of Greece, including Lesbos, Chios and Samos, which is above the total camp capacity. The Greek government aims to move the refugees to the mainland to ease the problems."

In 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aiming to stem the irregular migration flow through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The deal also allows for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets all 72 requirements set by the EU.

Turkey has long complained of the EU being slow to deliver the promised funds for refugees and failing to uphold its end of the deal concerning visa-free travel.

Last November, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the financial support the EU promised to Turkey will be fully respected.

2018.05.02 / 23:50
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