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Report: Migrant arrivals in Europe from Turkey nearly double in 2019

70,000 migrants have made it to the European Union from Turkey this year, according to a confidential EU report, prompting some to question whether the EU-Turkey refugee deal has fallen apart completely.

The confidential EU report shows that the number of migrants and asylum seekers who’ve successfully crossed over into the EU from Turkey this year has nearly doubled in comparison to 2018, Die Welt reports.

From January to mid-December, 70,002 migrants from Turkey reached the European Union, marking an increase of 46 percent compared to the same period last year.

Close to 68,000 of those migrants made their way to from Turkey to Greece via the Aegean Sea. Today, most are living in the overcrowded migrant camps on Greece’s islands. The remaining migrants are said to have made it Italy, Cyprus, and Bulgaria.

30 percent of new arrivals came from Afghanistan, whereas the number of asylum applications from Syria was just 14 percent. Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Turkish citizens made up 9.5 percent, 8 percent, and 5 percent of asylum seekers, respectfully.

Migrant reception centers on Greece’s Aegean islands have come under intense pressure in the past year. To cope with the constant inflow of new arrivals, the Greek government has been forced to transfer thousands of migrants onto the mainland. From the beginning of this year to mid-December, 34,000 migrants have been transfered to the Greek mainland.

The quickly worsening situation in Greece has prompted many European politicians to question whether the EU-Turkey deal has unraveled entirely.

Under the agreement, Turkey is required to take back migrants who’ve passed through its territory to make it to Europe and to prevent migrants from crossing to Europe. In return, the European Union pays Turkey €6 billion to help with the Syrian refugee crisis. Despite the EU paying this, Ankara has continually complained that the bloc is not doing enough.

“It has been reported that in some situations Turkish patrol boats have not intervened and even pushed refugee boats into Greek waters after being notified by the Greek coast guard,” the confidential EU report states.


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