Turkish Red Crescent to build first migrant readmission camp in western Turkey
MANİSAA camp with a capacity of 5,000 people will be built in the western province of Manisa to accommodate migrants readmitted to Turkey, Turkish Red Crescent Deputy Chair Kerem Kınık has said.
“We are conducting work for the construction of a camp with a capacity of 5,000 people to host the refugees in our country under humanitarian conditions and to provide for their needs,” Kınık told Anadolu Agency.
The plan for the camp, which is the first to be constructed in Turkey outside the country’s south and southeast, comes after Ankara inked a deal with the EU regarding refugees who arrive in Europe via Turkey.
According to the deal, Turkey is set to take back migrants who reached Greece on or after March 20. For every migrant Turkey takes back, the EU will accept one migrant from camps in Turkey, in an effort to reduce the illegal crossings. The returns will begin on April 4.
As part of the deal, Turkey will receive 3 billion euros – in addition to an initial 3 billion euros that was earmarked late last year – to provide further assistance to the refugees.
Turkey has also agreed to pursue all measures in an effort to prevent migrants from using sea or land routes in their quest to reach Europe.
Turkey is already home to over 2.7 million Syrians, most of whom live outside official camps.
Kınık said the Turkish Red Crescent was working with the Directorate General of Migration Management about the services to be offered to the refugees who will return to Turkey in accordance with the deal.
“The directorate carried out some activities in Greece for the identification of the refugees and irregular migrants who are subject to return,” said Kınık.
Highlighting that there are already 22 refugee camps in Turkey, Kınık said: “250,000 Syrians are living in these camps. We have Turkish Red Crescent cards for these people. We have provided financial support of around 310 million Turkish Liras [to refugees] with these cards. Our support for those living outside the camps continues as well in this regard. We are trying to solve our refugee brothers’ problems with adaptation in society centers that we recently opened. There are also camps that we are supporting inside Syria. We are giving support to 500,000 to 600,000 victims inside Syria.”
Meanwhile, the number of refugees arriving from Turkey in Greece rose sharply on March 30.
Greek authorities recorded 766 new arrivals between the morning of March 29 and the morning of March 30, up from 192 the previous day. Most arrived on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos.
The EU Commission said on March 29 that the flows in the last week had diminished, with only 1,000 people arriving from Turkey on the Greek islands, compared to an average of 2,000 a day in the last couple of months.
It was not clear why the numbers had dropped, but the Aegean Sea had been hit with bad weather and gale-force winds, making the journey from Turkey on small rubber boats even more dangerous.
Turkish, Greek and other NATO member state ships are in full view on the water, while on land, Turkish police have increased controls on the main roads leading to the Aegean coast, turning back those suspected of planning to take to migrant boats.