In view of the increasing number of arriving migrants, Greece has called for a new refugee pact with Turkey. This should be developed under the leadership of Berlin, said Greece’s Minister for Migration and Asylum, Dimitrios Kairidis, to the “Bild” newspaper. “We are protecting our northern borders as best we can, but we must act together at the primary source,” he said. “And the main source – and here Germany’s weight is really important and big – is Turkey.”

Everyone knows that Germany is the largest player in Europe and that there is a close and diverse relationship with Turkey, said Kairidis. We also know that Turks in Europe listen more to Berlin than to other capitals. “We want Berlin to use this influence for the benefit of all to negotiate an honest agreement with Turkey that seeks to rebuild Turkey’s relations with the West and Europe,” Kairidis said.

“It is essential to move to a new agreement”

Turkey is a key country for irregular migration as it controls the eastern Mediterranean route. “It is essential to move to a new agreement,” said the minister.

A refugee agreement was signed between Turkey and the EU in 2016, with Ankara pledging to take action against irregular migration. According to the pact, the EU should also be able to send back refugees and migrants who come to the Greek islands illegally via Turkey. “Turkey is not implementing the agreement and has stopped all returns since February 2020 due to the Covid justification no longer existing,” Kairidis continued to “Bild”.

The number of migrants who want to reach Greece irregularly from Turkey has recently risen sharply. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 19,676 people came to Greece by land or sea from Turkey by the beginning of September – almost as many as in the whole of the previous year, when 18,700 people entered irregularly.