Turkish town not ready for arrivals under EU-Turkey deal, mayor says

Local authorities in the western Turkish town of Dikili are not ready to accommodate the hundreds of refugees expected to arrive on Monday under an EU-Turkey migration deal, the town's mayor said Sunday.

"I myself as mayor have received no information at all from the responsible parties in Ankara regarding the migrants," Mustafa Tosun told dpa.

Tosun added he did not know if and how many migrants are due to arrive in Dikili on Monday, nor where they will be accommodated.

Under a deal struck between the EU and Turkey last month, migrants in Greece who do not apply for asylum or fail to qualify will be returned to Turkey starting Monday. In return, Syrian refugees will be directly taken from Turkey and resettled in Europe.

Mobile phone photos received by dpa showed an empty, grassy field at the site in Dikili where the new arrivals were meant to be accommodated.

The Turkish prime minister's office refused to answer questions posed by dpa on the government's preparedness to receive the returnees.

According to Greek staff handling the refugee crisis, there were more than 52,500 refugees and other migrants stranded in Greece as of Saturday. Countries further north along the so-called Balkan route to northern and western Europe closed their borders to people without valid documents.

Migrants likely to be sent back to Turkey have protested, denouncing the returns as "deportations." Hundreds of them broke out of a camp on Chios on Friday and were camped out in the island's main port on Sunday. They demanded to be taken to the mainland of Greece and not back to Turkey.

A total of 514 migrants arrived on the Greek Aegean islands from Turkey in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, officials said.

On Saturday, the figure was 566 migrants, on Friday 339 and on Thursday 377, the Greek department dealing with the refugee crisis said.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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