Faced with influx from Turkey, Greece to seek international help with migration problem

The continuing increase in the influx of undocumented migrants to Greece from Turkey has prompted the Greek prime minister to chair an emergency meeting over the weekend on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly summit in New York, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Sunday. 

Kyriakos Mitsotakis is also expected to discuss the subject with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the summit this week, it said. 

Greece over the past few weeks has been faced with an influx of migrants on the Aegean islands, particulary from Lesbos, which saw the largest wave since the peak of Europe’s refugee crisis in early 2016, with the arrival of more than 500 migrants last month. 

Another 400 migrants landed there on Friday and arrivals continued over the weekend, the newspaper said.

Turkey is one of the main departure points for migrants seeking to enter Europe by sea, but a 2016 agreement with the European Union sharply cut the numbers of refugees using that route.

Turkey, in line with the agreement it signed with Brussels, agreed to take measures to reduce the flow of migrants and to accept the return of some who had reached Greek islands. The EU pledged 6 billion euros to Turkey as its side of the deal, of which Turkey said it only received half.

The Greek government is hoping for the EU to give Ankara an incentive, such as additional funding, to accelerate the return of migrants to Turkey in line with the 2016 agreement, Kathimerini said.