Greece, Turkey cooperate in fighting illegal migration

By Furkan Naci Top

ATHENS (AA) – Greece and Turkey have been in contact in the fight against irregular migration, Greek Minister for Migration Dimitris Vitsas said on Thursday.

Speaking to international reporters in Athens, Vitsas said that he has been holding talks with Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu to prevent the irregular migration.

“Turkey, with all its power, has been conducting patrols in Meric [district in northwestern Edirne province]. We are also making efforts on our side,” he added.

Referring to his previous talks with the Turkish interior minister, Vitsas said: “We’ve managed to resolve some issues and most importantly the revival of stalled bilateral relations.”

Underlining the importance of further improving bilateral ties, the Greek minister said: “Information sharing [between two countries] has contributed [to revive relations].”

Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.

Around 60,000 irregular migrants trying to cross to Greece were held in Turkey’s northwestern Edirne province in the first ten months of 2018.

Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal in March 2016, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of more than 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The migration flow has decreased by 97 percent following the signing of the deal.

The deal also allowed for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area.