Greece Deports 59 Migrants and Refugees under EU-Turkey Agreement

ATHENS – Greece deported a group of 59 migrants and refugees on Friday as part of an agreement between the European Union and Turkey, Greek police said.

The group of 56 men and three women was taken from Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos, to the Turkish port of Dikili on a boat chartered by the EU border agency Frontex.

The asylum requests of those being returned had been rejected, police told EFE.

Of the returning group, 52 were Iranian, four Afghan, two Pakistani and one Algerian.

On Thursday, 14 Syrians – eight men, two women and four children – were taken to Turkey by plane under the EU-Turkey migrant return agreement, according to the ministry of citizen protection.

Among the group, 10 had not applied for asylum while the others had withdrawn their requests.

According to a statement by the ministry, 17 people were due to be deported, but at the moment of boarding, a Syrian couple with a child asked for international protection and thus remained on the Greek island of Kos.

As per a bilateral agreement between Greece and Turkey, 1,085 people from third countries have been returned so far this year.

Meanwhile, as part of the EU-Turkey migrant return deal, in place since Mar. 20, some 51 Turkish citizens and 741 people of other nationalities have been sent back to Turkey.

Since this agreement came into effect, 228 people who arrived to Greece from Turkey by sea have voluntarily returned to their countries of origin.

Latest UN Refugee Agency figures show that 168,873 people have arrived by sea to Greece so far this year.

Greece deports 59 migrants and refugees under EU-Turkey agreement