By Huseyin Gazi Kayki
More than 1,000 “irregular migrants” have been returned to Turkey under the refugee deal with the Europe, EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said Tuesday.
Responding to a written question in parliament, Celik said 1,093 migrants had been sent back to Turkey by the EU following the introduction of the agreement in March last year.
“As of May 2, 2017, a total of 1,093 irregular migrants have been returned to Turkey and a total of 5,024 Syrians have been sent to EU member states,” Celik said.
Under the deal, which was reached in November 2015 at the height of the refugee crisis threatening Europe, Turkey agreed to accept the return of migrants who crossed to the EU from its territory.
In return, the EU agreed to accept Syrian refugees for resettlement.
More than 857,000 migrants arrived in Greece, where most migrants headed from Turkey, in 2015, the International Organization for Migration said. This figure fell by 79 percent to just under 177,000 arrivals the following year.
Turkey has repeatedly warned that the refugee deal could collapse if the EU does not honor a promise to grant visa-free travel to Turkish nationals.