ATHENS, Greece (NWN) – The fatal flooding of a boat carrying migrants in the Aegean Sea, which claimed the lives of four people, highlights the flaws in an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to curb uncontrolled migration flows westward, Greece’s migration minister said Wednesday. …
Notis Mitarachi said the victims of the crash off the eastern Greek island of Chios – two children and two adults from Somalia – should never have been allowed to leave the Turkish coast in an overcrowded smuggling boat.
Greece is an important entry point into the EU for Asians or Africans fleeing conflict or poverty, who mostly leave Turkey in unseawable boats. Stronger patrols by the Greek authorities with the support of the EU border agency have limited flows in recent years after nearly a million people traveled on the trip in 2015.
Mitarachi told a news conference that up to four people are still missing since Monday’s flooding, and 22 Somalis, Eritreans and Sudanese have been rescued, three of whom are being treated in hospital.
The flooding “underscores the brutal reality of the exploitation of migrants,” who are not targeted by criminal gangs in Turkey, he said.
Mitarachi said that Somalis, in particular, “fly to Turkey on visas, they are well received in Turkey … and they have all the characteristics of a person who is given a safe place to live.” Therefore, we see absolutely no reason for their trip to Greece or other EU countries. “
Greece has identified Turkey as a safe country for Somalis, Afghans, Syrians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis – nationalities that figure prominently among people illegally crossing the border from Turkey to Greece.
The minister said that those facing danger in their own country “obviously” should have the right to seek asylum, but that does not give them the right to travel to many countries to fine what “suits (them) best.”
A 2016 deal between the EU and Turkey, which is home to a huge number of migrants and refugees, was aimed at limiting illegal migration. But Mitarachi said it didn’t work as the deal was supposed to stop “unnecessary travel” like Monday.
“The Turkish authorities can and should do more to prevent the exploitation of (migrants) by criminal gangs … for which … the European Union should provide Turkey with tangible support,” he said.
Turkey says the EU has failed to honor its end of the remittance deal.
Mitarachi acknowledged that not everyone in the European Parliament or the executive commission agrees on how to manage migration flows.
“But in the event that people illegally cross the border from safe countries, without trying to save their lives from conflict or persecution, and cross it in a very dangerous way in boats, we must be able to accept that such actions endanger life,” – he said. said.
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