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World

Turkey: Greek Islands to be Cleared of Migrants

EU could pay for the return of the migrants to Turkey

Greece Migrants
2 years ago

A Turkish official says five Greek islands would be “cleared” of migrants before a proposed deal with the European Union on the return of migrants to Turkey comes into effect.

The Foreign Ministry official told reporters Friday that the migrants on those islands would be taken to mainland Greece and resettled elsewhere. Turkey would start taking back any new migrants that arrive on the islands once the deal is in place, the official said. He did not name the islands.

A boy walks down a muddy slope on a foggy morning at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Friday, March 11, 2016. After nearly three days of rain, conditions in the refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian where about 14,000 people are stranded have deteriorated significantly, with many of its residents struggling to re-pitch their small camping tents in slightly drier patches.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

After nearly three days of rain, conditions in the refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian where about 14,000 people are stranded have deteriorated significantly, with many of its residents struggling to re-pitch their small camping tents in slightly drier patches. Photo: AP/Vadim Ghirda.

The EU and Turkey this week agreed on the outlines of a deal that would send thousands of irregular migrants back to Turkey. In return, the EU would take an equal number of Syrian refugees who have found shelter in Turkey. The deal could be finalized at an EU summit next week.

The official said the aim of the deal is to discourage the illegal and dangerous migrant crossings from Turkey to the Greek islands and said Turkey was confident that these crossings would drop significantly days after the Turkish proposal comes into effect.

A child with chocolate stains on his face smiles at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Friday, March 11, 2016. After nearly three days of rain, conditions in the refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian where about 14,000 people are stranded have deteriorated significantly, with many of its residents struggling to re-pitch their small camping tents in slightly drier patches.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A child with chocolate stains on his face smiles at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni. Photo: AP/Vadim Ghirda.

He added the EU would pay for the return of the migrants to Turkey.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

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