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Photograph: EPA/NAKE BATEV

The European Commission still plans to begin Monday with the return of asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey, arguing that the required legal conditions will be in place by then, in response to criticism from the UN refugee agency and Amnesty International.

The commission is examining allegations that Turkey is sending Syrians back to the country and is raising the issue with Ankara, a commission spokeswoman says. The principle of not returning refugees to a country where they are at risk is a "red line" for the EU, she adds.

The European Union's executive is also doing all that is necessary to create the right conditions for refugees in Greece, the spokeswoman adds, while noting that this will "take time to materialize."

"We are aware that there are tensions, that there are capacity problems - this is precisely why we are there in the process of helping the Greek authorities to manage the situation," another spokeswoman notes.

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