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'EU should keep promise to Turkey on visa-free travel',Greek minister says

Turkish police at the passport control on June 19, 2020 at Antalya International airport in Antalya [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]
Turkish police at the passport control on June 19, 2020 at Antalya International airport in Antalya [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]

On Monday, Greek Migration and Asylum Minister, Notis Mitarachi, said that the EU should keep its promises to Turkey as part of a 2016 agreement to provide Turkish nationals visa-free travel to Europe, German Die Welt newspaper reports.

According to the report, Mitarachi urged the EU to abide by its migration commitments, including visa-free travel.

"The joint declaration must be respected by both sides,'' he said. "The EU has also made commitments to Turkey regarding visa-free travel and trade, which it must abide by."

The Greek island of Lesbos is where many migrants arrive from Turkey, by crossing the Aegean Sea. This has caused a lot of problems between the Greek and Turkish governments. .

In April 2021, Greece accused Turkey of trying to provoke it by attempting to push boats carrying migrants into Greek waters, a claim which Ankara strongly rejected.

The migrant deal between Turkey and the EU was signed in 2016 and was aimed at discouraging irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of some three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

After the deal, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey increased to 3.7 million or more, along with a new wave of refugees coming from Idlib after the regime's attack, Turkish officials have said.

Turkey has criticised Europe's failure to keep its promises under the 2016 deal, including delivering under half the €6 billion ($6.8 billion) it pledged to help Syrians in Turkey.

With 3.7 million Syrian migrants already in Turkey, Ankara says it is overburdened by the refugee influx.

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