VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local): 6:30 p.m. Italy's anti-migrant interior minister wants tighter criteria for granting humanitarian protection to migrants rescued at sea. Matteo Salvini says he has asked authorities to speed up processing asylum requests and be more "rigorous" before granting internationally recognized forms of protection that fall short of asylum. He told reporters Thursday only "pregnant women, children and refugees" who are granted asylum among rescued migrants should remain in Italy. Salvini said he aims to limit "abuse" of asylum and other kinds of protection that amount to the "legitimization of clandestine immigration." Earlier on Thursday, he sent ministry officials instructions urging asylum commissions to "safeguard the primary interests of the general public and not only the rights" of asylum-seekers.
Number of Turkish nationals seeking asylum in Norway spiked in June
Norway says the number of asylum seekers from Turkey has increased noticeably in recent weeks, and officials say it will take time to process them because Oslo needs to check other countries’ practices in similar cases, the Associated Press reported on July 5.
According to Frode Forfang, head of Norway’s Directorate of Immigration, many of the asylum seekers have claimed political persecution in Turkey for their alleged links to Gülen movement, a religious group the Turkish government accuses of masterminding the coup attempt in 2016.
The agency said that 245 Turkish nationals have sought shelter in Norway so far in 2018, including 142 arriving in June. The number of Turkish nationals who sought asylum in Norway was 164 in 2017.
Forfang added that most of the Turkish nationals who sought asylum in Norway have been granted protection in the past.
Meanwhile, also on July 5, Gülizar Taşdemir, a Kurdish activist who travelled to Norway seeking asylum in 2015, was detained in Istanbul by anti-terror police after being deported. Taşdemir is allegedly linked to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group which has been fighting inside Turkey for more than 30 years. According to Demirören News Agency, Taşdemir had been at one of the group’s camps in Iraq in 2015 when she was forced to flee to Norway under threat from the extremist jihadist Islamic State (ISIS).