Turkey’s EU Minister Volkan Bozkir said Tuesday that the number of irregular migrants arriving in the Greek islands has fallen dramatically since the EU-Turkey refugee deal came into effect.
Turkey and the EU reached an agreement which came into effect in March 20 to stop refugee flows to Europe.
Under the deal, people trying to enter Europe illegally will not get a chance for resettlement in the EU.
All new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands as of March 20 will be returned to Turkey.
Speaking after meeting with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar in Ljubljana, Bozkir told reporters that the deal's goal was to end irregular immigration and for Turkey and the EU to find a common solution.
He added that Slovenia is one of the important countries that supports Turkey's EU membership process and that it has been Ankara’s strategic partner since 2011.
Bozkir also said that Turkey and Slovenia have an annual trade volume of $1.2 billion.
Over 160,000 migrants or refugees have crossed into Greece and Italy since the beginning of 2016, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the vast majority reaching Greece.
During the same period, at least 531 migrants and refugees lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean, with the Eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece continuing to be the deadliest, accounting for 366 migrant deaths. During the first three months in 2015, 505 migrants died in all Mediterranean routes.