EUROPE > Greece sends migrants to its Turkish border


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Migrants living in Athens are held at an ID-check operation in Athens. Around 1,000 immigrants were arrested and another 4,900 brought in for questioning by police.

Migrants living in Athens are held at an ID-check operation in Athens. Around 1,000 immigrants were arrested and another 4,900 brought in for questioning by police.

Greek authorities transferred about 1,000 undocumented immigrants an area close to the Turkish border Aug. 7, after a weekend police sweep in Athens led to a mass arrest of foreigners.

A local police official said the immigrants were being held in two temporarily closed police schools in Thrace, a part of northeastern Greece bordering Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported. It’s unclear how long the immigrants will remain in the centers, as recession-choked Greece has scant money to return them to their home countries. Greek government figures show more than 100 migrants crossing the country’s border with Turkey daily. Turkey and the European Union formally launched the visa-exemption process for Turkish citizens last June and initiated a readmission agreement with the bloc. The deal envisages the repatriation of illegal migrants in Europe via Turkey after temporary stays in the latter country, in response to key steps outlined by the EU for a visa-free agreement with Turkey.

Minister for Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias called on regional mayors to back the transfer, a day after they protested the police school closures in the city of Komotini. Dendias said he was committed to keeping the schools open and that the transfer of the immigrants to the facilities was “a provisional step to resolve the problem of illegal immigrants,” which he called a “question of national survival.” “In the name of your patriotism and the instinct for the survival of the Greek citizen, I ask for your support for this effort.”

According to the latest tallies, more than 6,000 people were questioned during the Athens crackdown. A total of 1,595 of them were arrested and face deportation.


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8/12/2012 6:46:10 PM

Kenan, neither your aspect nor mine can be neglected. Unfortunately, as an old greek song says "the other people's hands are knives". When you have no rights, morever when nobody protects you, it is very easy at such cases to get violated...It is very sad because most of those people are not criminals, on the contrary they live in the fear from the beginning of their travel. Sorry, but I strongly suspect that some p.officers allover the world behave, secretly, in the same way to refugees...

kerem atan

8/12/2012 6:19:16 PM

the refugees see greece as a gateway to europe. i dont assume they would like to remain in greece. most of them plan on moving to other european countries in the hope of a better life and a job. istanbul is already overpopulated. plus turkish securities also arrest lots of migrants like that.believe me, here they are not sent back to their countries after being being beat up.

kerem atan

8/12/2012 5:57:03 PM

Aristomenis,greek authorities could consider tackling the problem without resorting to violence and discrimination.these ppl dont leave their countries for pleasure after all. the refugees in greece are either subjected to the violence by the police or attacked by the racist gangs.if u look up on the video sharing websites, u can see their conditions in greece are dire.but greeks consider all asylum seekers potential criminals.


8/12/2012 4:47:53 PM

...Imagine Istanbul around the most crowded and touristic areas to have a proportional number of people, 6.000.000 people... Even the absolute number of 1.500.000 is a crazy number...I am happy to share comments with Hurriyet readers...so don't take me wrong for the following comment...Imagine that all those people were coming from Greece, while Greece did not accept them back at all...And then Greek readers to criticise/blaming your country, while your beloved Istanbul is not safe at all...


8/12/2012 4:36:18 PM

@kenan, hello. Try to consider that, that happened to Turkey. 140.000 people pass the Greek-Turkish borders, illegaly, every year. Most of those people were/are ok and there was tolerance even in the first years of crisis. But after that, more than 1.000.000 people located int the centre of Athens, creating dangerous situations for diseases and places where ordinary people could not access or pass through. Paper work to send those people back is extremely difficult due to lack of evIdences...

kerem atan

8/11/2012 12:38:01 AM

yeah right harry foundalis. greek authorities just prefer to mistreat the migrants and force them out of the country with their crackdowns.

Harry Foundalis

8/9/2012 8:08:51 PM

@kenan atagün, each EU member has its own authority regarding how many immigrants to grant asylum to. As for “humanitarian issues should always come before money”, try convincing someone who has NO money for charity. As for bragging about Turkey’s Syrian refugees, if Turkey were to have the same percent of illegal immigrants as Greece has, you should try to handle 6,3 million of them, ALL of whom arrived from an eastern neighbor of yours, who encouraged them to go to your country.

kerem atan

8/9/2012 5:37:00 PM

Harry Foundalis but greece is a member of eu and eu has his own polices regarding the illegal immigrants. as far as i know illegal immigrants benefit from some rights like health service in europe although spain wants to revoke their health care due to the crisis.greece chooses to deport them unlike other eu countries. turkey also hosts thousands of syrian refugees. humanitarian issues should always come before money.

Harry Foundalis

8/9/2012 2:49:04 PM

@kenan atagün, we Greeks know very well which errors WE GREEKS made that led us to our financial crisis. You are wrong if you think we blame illegal immigrants for the crisis. But most immigrants are ILLEGAL in Greece, and by resorting to crime and violence they exacerbate an already tough situation. If I entered and stayed illegally in Turkey, wouldn’t you want to have the right to deport me? Especially if I couldn’t find a job, and you saw many people like me stealing and KILLING to survive?

kerem atan

8/9/2012 2:04:22 PM

i feel sorry for the migrants who are treated as second class human beings in greece.they are piled up in a mass and being questioned by greek cops.unfortunately they have been the scapegoats of the greek crisis tho they just are seeking an asylum.greeks forget about the humanity as well when they run out of money...
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