Status: 10/31/2021 5:23 p.m.
Almost 400 people disembarked a Turkish freighter in Greece. The authorities had allowed the damaged ship to dock. However, you accused Turkey of violating the EU refugee agreement.
A wrecked Turkish freighter with 382 people on board has been towed by the Greek coast guard to an anchorage off the island of Kos. As the Ministry of Migration in Athens announced, 375 passengers were brought to a special facility for refugees, where asylum applications are processed. According to the Coast Guard, most of them are men from Afghanistan. A woman had been taken to a health center on the nearby island of Karpathis; six people were arrested.
The ministry said the migrants would remain in quarantine and temporarily on Kos. Turkey had been formally requested to take back the ship sailing under its flag. Although the Greek authorities had allowed the ship to dock, Greece accused Turkey of violating the refugee agreement with the EU. “Turkey has once again failed to fulfill its responsibility to the EU,” said Minister of the Navy for Commerce, Giannis Plakiotakis.
Turkey refuses to take back
According to the Greek authorities, the ship had sent a distress signal after an engine failure in international waters. It had been located east of the island of Crete by a Greek search and rescue ship. Greece then approved a mooring on Kos. The Aegean island is only a few kilometers from the Turkish mainland. Greece had previously asked Turkey in vain to take back the ship.
Due to the number of people on board, it was “one of the largest search and rescue operations in the eastern Mediterranean,” said the Coast Guard. According to the information, the ship actually wanted to sail from the Turkish coast to Italy. Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis called for “effective solidarity” from the EU. It must be ensured that the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey is respected, he wrote on Twitter.
Patrols and tightened border security
Greece and Turkey regularly accuse each other of violating the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey. The refugee deal of March 2016 stipulates that Turkey will limit the number of people who come to the EU through its territory. Turkey has also committed itself to taking back migrants who have crossed the EU’s external border from their territory if they are not granted political asylum. In return, Turkey receives billions in EU financial aid.
Greece has tightened border surveillance and sea patrols over the past 18 months. This led to an increase in the number of migrant boats leaving the Turkish coast directly for Italy.