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Greek minister lauds change in Turkey’s migration policy: report

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Greece’s migration minister has welcomed the Turkish government’s willingness to reduce migration flows from Asia into Europe, saying Greece is ready to help Turkey move forward with the change in its migration policy, Al Jazeera reported.

“From the Greek point of view, it looks like a U-turn in a positive way, and we are here to fully take advantage of it and to help the U-turn,” Dimitris Kairidis said.

He was comparing the new Turkish attitude to Ankara’s policy in March 2020, when Turkey unilaterally departed from a four-year-old agreement with the European Union that obliged both sides to hold back undocumented refugees and migrants.

Thousands of them stormed the Greek border fence along the Evros River in Thrace, nearly overwhelming Greek police.

Kairidis, whose government took office in July, visited Turkish interior minister, Ali Yerlikaya, on Oct. 19.

“I was presented with a lot of data from the Turkish side,” Kairidis said.

Turkish authorities said they had arrested 140,000 undocumented people attempting to cross into Europe since the beginning of the year. Some 40,000 had been deported to their countries of origin. Turkey also said it had arrested 5,000 smugglers.

“These are all very positive, and we see especially on the land border with Greece and Bulgaria a very determined action on the part of Turkey’s security forces, army police and gendarmerie, to do away with smugglers and flows,” Kairidis said.

The two ministers agreed to regularly exchange and publish migration statistics.

Not only is all quiet on the Evros land border; Greek numbers published on Nov. 1 showed flows have fallen by 42 percent by land and sea.

Arrivals on the Greek islands from the Turkish coast had shot up over the summer. Official Greek monthly bulletins showed increases of 52 percent in June, 69 percent in July, 106 percent in August and 170 percent in September.

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