EU border chief says migrant arrivals from Turkey on the rise

The number of migrants entering Europe from Turkey went up 46 percent last year, despite a deal between the European Union and Ankara to curb migrant influx into the bloc, the head of the EU’s border agency said on Friday.

"This was mainly due to the situation in Syria, but also instability in Afghanistan, and changing policies towards Afghan nationals by Iranian and Pakistani authorities,'' Deutsche Welle quoted Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri as saying to reporters. 

Leggeri did not place blame on the Turkish coast guard, saying it was "working well" to stop people from trying to leave.

The EU and Turkey agreed in 2016 to a deal in which Ankara received funds from the bloc in exchange for efforts to stop refugees from attempting to cross to Greece.

But the number of people arriving into the EU through Turkey reached 82,000 last year, leaving Greece to struggle with the problem of severe overcrowding at refugee camps on its islands.