600 rejected migrants attempting to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey and enter in Greece

About 600 migrants were prevented from crossing the Aegean Sea and entering on Monday in Greece from neighboring Turkey in the biggest migration attempt of questyear, announced the Greek coast guard.

A coast guard spokesman told AFP that five boats and four boats simultaneously left the Turkish coast on Monday morning and were in Turkish waters near the Greek islands of Chios and Samos when the Greek coast guard entered. He added that “the Greek patrols were in able to quickly locate boats and inform the Turkish coast guard “, noting that all boats have turned back or were intercepted by the Turkish coast guard. He explained that all boats were then” in Turkish territorial waters “.

According to a source from the Greek Migration Ministry, in the first four months of questyear there was a “30% increase in the flow of migrants to the Greek islands” compared to the same period last year. More than 3,000 asylum seekers have arrivedin Greece questyear, of which 1,100 in April, according to ministry data. The number of asylum seekers living in camps on the Aegean islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros reached over 2,300 in April. These five islands are located near the Turkish coast and are a gateway for migrants and refugees to Europe. EU member Greece has long accused Turkey (non-member) of not taking sufficient action against smugglers who send migrants on rickety boats from Turkey in breach of a 2016 agreement between Ankara and the EU.

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The conservative Greek government has tightened sea and land border controls with Turkey over the past three years, with the help of the EU’s external border control agency Frontex, and has managed to limit the number of migrants in I arrive in Greece. But many media and human rights NGOs have repeatedly accused the Greek authorities of illegal deportation of migrants to Turkish waters or territory.

After these accusations, the European Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees asked Athens to conduct an investigation. Athens has always denied having carried out such illegal operations, while the National Transparency Authority announced in March that it had not found prove of such practices. Non-governmental organizations have also accused Frontex of having committed illegal deportations to European borders. Its French president, Fabrice Leggerie, resigned in April after an investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office against the CEO and two other Frontex members.