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1,190 new refugees arrive in 5 days. Does Erdogan let EU-Turkey deal go burst?

Does President Recep Tayyip Erdogan let the EU-Turkey deal on migration go burst? A significant increase in the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey has been recorded in the last six days. A total of 1,196 people arrived in the Greek islands of northern and eastern Aegean Sea in the time Friday, August 18th – Wednesday, August 23rd 2017.

New Arrivals:

  • August 18: 105
  • August 19: 308
  • August 20: 136
  • August 21: 397
  • August 22: 250
  • August 23: 174    source: Greek Migration Ministry until 7:00 am

In addition, 84 new arrivals were recorded on the islands of Lesvos and Samos, on Wednesday.

Video: arrival – Lesvos

Two people assigned to operate the boat engines were arrested.

A FRONTEX vessel rescued 48 refugees off the small island of Ro in the south-eastern Aegean.

2,400 people arrived in Greece August 1-20, 2017. Half of them arrived within just the last days.

Local authorities observe the incising number of arrivals with “keen concern” to see whether the phenomenon is temporary linked to the good weather conditions or if there is a more general trend. They already warn that the situation on the islands is slowly getting out of control.

More than 14,000 people are trapped on the Greek islands that have hosting capacity for 5,576 people.

Total numbers on the islands: 14,221

  • in hotspots: 8,179
  • in unofficial hotspots: 3,449

Reports from the island of Chios underline that a lot of refugees and migrants live outside the hotspots, spread across land plots without tents or any other facilities.

“Little kids are seen to walk around without shoes and sleep in carton boxes,” reports from the area around unofficial hotspot of VI.AL.

On the island of Samos the situation is reportedly not much better

Flow increase – a Turkish plan?

According to the correspondent of AthensNewsAgency on the island of Lesvos, the Turkish Coast Guard has announced that it had zero intervention in the issue of refugees and migrants from the Turkish coast to the Greek islands as of August 15th.

The increase of the refugee and migrants flow timely coincides with the bitter row between Ankara and Berlin.

Last Friday, President Erdogan described the main German political parties as “enemies of Turkey” and urged his German of Turkish descent to not vote for Merkel’s CDU, the Social-democrats and the Greens.

German politicians responded with fury to Erdogan’s remarks.


Photo published for AYS Daily Digest 22/8/17: NGOs prevent camp residents from joining protests


Meanwhile in Athens, Afghan migrants staged a protest outside the Ministry of Migrations and the offices of the European Commission demanding the annullation of the EU-Turkey deal, ‘equal rights treatment of protection seekers’ and a stop of deportations of Afghan migrants form EU countries.

Last year, the European commission had excluded Afghans from its refugees lists claiming their lives were not at risk if they should be deported to Afghanistan. They were no longer war refugees, Brussels ruled.

The Afghan protest was supported by Greek solidarity groups.


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  1. I don’t see why Turkey should be blamed when the EU hasn’t kept its part of the deal (giving money to Turkey as promised in autumn 2015) and when Erdogan aborted a NATO backed coup d’etat in 2016. Turkey has 3 million refugees on its soil…

  2. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Actually, Turkey is not only managing the migration situation better than the EU, it is also adapting its laws to accept hosting the large number of refugees and some economic migrants. The EU-Turkey “Statement” (which the EU General Court has ruled is not a legal arrangement under EU law) is nothing other than an admission by the EU right wing governments that they refuse to accept genuine refugees, and want Turkey to host them. Now, they try to convince themselves that they can do the same with Libya or North Africa — clearly impossible without overturning all the precepts of humanitarian law.

    In terms of the small numbers arriving in Greece currently, I cannot comment on why. I do know that Turkey is complaining that Greece returns almost nobody — as required in the so-called agreement. And it is hardly the fault of Turkey that the EU refuses to invest in refugee management, including taking people off the Aegean islands and locating them in suitable other countries. This is all about the failed policies of the EU.