Greece — Greece has restarted deportations of migrants to Turkey after four days of stopped operations. It appears that a first boat, bound for the Greek island of Lesbos to Dikili port in Turkey, carried 45 Pakistani men on Friday. Later, a second boat transported 79 migrants.

When migrants arrived in Dikili, after overcoming the Aegean Sea, they were registered by police and migration officials. According to the Daily Sabah from Turkey, the batch of migrants will be transferred to a center in the northwestern province of Kirklareli.

A migrant girl looks out from a tent at a train station near the makeshift refugee camp at the northern Greek border point of Idomeni, Greece. Credit: The Washington Post

A group of approximately 30 activists gathered at the port on Lesbos, requesting the European Union to stop deportations. The Associated Press said that before the first boat left the port, four protesters jumped into the sea to interfere the operation. However, they were detained by the coast guard.

It is expected that three more boats will carry migrants from Greece to Turkey on Friday. After they reach Kirklareli, they will be deported to their home country. According to the International Organization for Migration, 91 percent of immigrants come to Europe from the Syrian Arab Republic, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

The Greek government said that people who were deported to Turkey had not requested asylum, according to the Turkish Weekly. Recently, Turkey announced it will accept all irregular migrants (about 6,000), who arrived in Greece since March 20.

Europe has agreed to register one Syrian in a camp in Turkey, for each  Syrian deported. On the other hand, Turkey will receive $6.8 billion in financial aid from 2016 to 2018, which will be adjudicated for the settlement of the 2.7 million Syrian refugees that the country is currently hosting, said the Turkish Weekly.

Afghans are excluded from the agreement. As a result, they complain that they should be treated like Syrians, who can get asylum in Europe. Shahkar Khan, an Afghan in Turkey who talked to the NY Times, said that like Syria, his country is not protected from terrorism.

“Now they want to throw us back to our country, but not the Syrians. Why should they get special treatment? Afghanistan is not safe. We have the Taliban, who want to kill us,” he said according to the Washington Post.

Turkish citizens will also receive benefits from the agreement. They will be able to travel to Europe without requesting a visa. New measures taken by Europe have started a discussion about the effectiveness of deportations. However, it appears that numbers of migrants have decreased in the last weeks.

In 2015 the old continent received 856,723 people who arrived in boats. In 2016, the number continued to increase, with 65,000 migrants intercepted at sea and land. A Syrian young man, who is aground in a Turkish town, said to the Washington Post that Europe wants migrants dead.

“There is no legal or adequate way for us to go to Europe so people are either waiting for the boats or turning back to Syria. People are shocked and scared. If any Syrian asked me today, ‘should I make the journey?’ I’d say go back and die in your land with honor.” Said Mohamed, who did not reveal his last name to the WP.

Source: Washington Post