Greek Immigration Minister Notis Mitarachi (Notis Mitarachi) said on Monday that if people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Syria seek asylum in Greece through Turkey, they will no longer be allowed to seek asylum in Greece.
“This is an important step in combating crimes related to illegal immigration and human trafficking,” Mitalakis said, adding that Turkey is a safe country where people can apply for asylum.
The new policy is based on an agreement reached between Turkey and the European Union in 2016, according to which Turkey seeks to crack down on illegal immigration to the European Union and allows Greece to send unauthorised immigrants to the Aegean islands to Turkey.
In return, for every Syrian who therefore returns to Turkey, the EU will allow a Syrian immigrant from a Turkish refugee camp to arrive in the EU. The EU has also signed an agreement that will provide Turkey with financial assistance to take care of refugees.
A source from the Greek Coast Guard said that the latest announcement should make it clear to individuals in these countries that they will not be allowed to enter the European Union without prior permission.
The number of immigrants living in refugee camps on Greek islands is declining. The latest data show that less than 9,000 people live on Lesbos, Chios, Kos, Leros and Samos. Last year, this number exceeded 40,000.