Greece wants Turkey to take 10,000 migrants after fire
October 1, 2019
The Greek government wants to start returning thousands of migrants to Turkey following a deadly fire that broke out at an overcrowded camp. Officials called for action to ease pressure on overcrowded migrant camps.
In a statement, the Athens government said the 10,000 would be an increase from the "1,805 returned in the 4.5 years under the previous (left-wing) Syriza government."
Mitsotakis announced further measures such as more naval patrols in the Aegean, closing centers for migrants refused asylum, and plans to overhaul the asylum system, including building camps for those deemed "illegal" or who have been refused asylum.
The meeting convened after a fire broke out at the Moria camp on Sunday, in which one woman died and 17 were injured. Moria is Europe's largest migrant camp, which has facilities for 3,000 people but houses around 13,000.
EU, not Turkey the answer to overcrowding
However, aid agencies argued that the solution should be EU-wide. Aid group Oxfam said that Sunday's fatal fire was a consequence of the EU's migration policy. "People arriving in Greece should be relocated to safe accommodation across the EU, not crammed into dangerous spaces where their life is at risk," said Renata Rendon, Oxfam's head of mission in Greece.
European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said on Monday, "The increased arrivals in Greece over the past weeks have put an immense strain on an already flawed system and are creating unsustainable conditions as we have already had the opportunity to point out in the past."