Return of 12 irregular migrants to Turkey.

Τhe Hellenic Republic
Ministry of Citizen’s Protection                                                   Athens, 20th June 2019 Press Office

                                         Return of 12 irregular migrants to Turkey.

Press Release

With an operation under the responsibility of the Hellenic Police and with the support provided by guest officers of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), in accordance with the provisions of the EU- Turkey Joint Statement, today, the 20th June, nine male irregular migrants have been returned, two from Pakistan, two from Afghanistan, one from Bangladesh, one from Cameroon, one from Lebanon, one from Uzbekistan and one Palestinian.

For the six of them, negative second instance decisions about granting international protection have been issued while three of them have renounced their claim international protection.

The return was made possible by a ship chartered by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency- FRONTEX, which sailed from the port of Mytilene bound for Dikeli, Turkey.

Furthermore, in accordance with the provisions of the EU- Turkey Readmission Agreement, on Monday, 17th and today, Thursday, 20th June 2019, three irregular migrants were returned from Turkey by road via the Border Station in Kipoi, Evros. They had not expressed the will to apply for international protection.

As far as the returns made to Turkey are concerned, the legal framework is as follows:

a) The Bilateral Greek- Turkish Readmission Protocol, signed in Athens on the 8th November 2001 and ratified with the Law N.3030/2002 ( Greek OJ A-163/ 15-07-2002)

b) The European Union- Turkey Readmission Agreement, signed on the 16th December 2013 in Ankara and entered into force on the 1st of October 2014 for the Readmission of Turkish Citizens.

c) The Joint EU- Turkey Statement of the 18th March 2016, in accordance with which, the irregular migrants arriving at Greek islands, will be returned to Turkey.

It must be noted that, during the years 2016 and 2017 and from 01-01-2018 until today, the following have been sent back to Turkey:

· Based on the Bilateral Greek- Turkish Readmission Protocol, in 2016: 1.183, in 2017: 21, in 2018: 5, in 2019: 0 : a total of 1.209 third countries nationals

· Based on the European Union – Turkey Readmission Agreement, in 2016:54- in 2017:24 – in 2018: 45- in 2019: 37, a total of 160 Turkish nationals

· Based on the Joint EU- Turkey Statement, in 2016:801- in 2017:683 – in 2018: 322- in 2019: 70, a total of 1.876 foreigners belonging to various nationalities (out of which 341 from Syria)

· Furthermore, since the beginning of the implementation of the Joint EU- Turkey Statement, 3.362 foreigners belonging to third countries that have entered Greek territory via the sea from Turkey, have been voluntarily returned to their countries of origin through the International Organization for Migration ( IOM)