clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Frontex, Turkey and a 47% increase in refugee arrests…

Posted by clandestina on 15 October 2009

source: Kathimerini

Frontex seeks Turkish cooperation

A senior official of the European Union’s border-monitoring agency Frontex yesterday said the organization’s efforts to curb a wave of illegal immigrants seeking to enter the bloc through Greece would be much more effective if Turkey were to cooperate.

Addressing reporters in Athens during an official visit, Frontex Deputy Executive Director Gil Arias Fernandez was careful not to condemn Turkey, noting that the role of his organization is to help EU member states monitor their borders, not to apply pressure on transit countries, but he stressed that Turkey’s cooperation “would be very welcome.”

Meanwhile, fresh Frontex statistics revealed a 47 percent increase in detentions of illegal immigrants in the Aegean in the first six months of this year, with 14,000 migrants detained on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Patmos as compared to 9,500 in the same period of 2008. Statistics for illegal arrivals to Italy and Spain however show a decrease of around 60 percent. Fernandez attributed this dramatic drop partly to the enforcement of repatriation pacts drawn up between Italy and Libya and between Spain and Senegal and to intensified Frontex patrols around the borders of these EU states.

Similar patrols along Greece’s land borders have been effective, Fernandez said, stressing that the islands of the Aegean remained a problem area. The Frontex official said this was partly because of the porous nature of the sea border but also partly because of Turkey’s refusal to honor a bilateral repatriation pact.

Questioned about reports regarding Frontex aircraft in the eastern Aegean receiving warning signals from Turkish radar while conducting patrols, Fernandez stressed that the interception had been unjustified as the organization’s aircraft had not entered Turkish air space. He added that Frontex has invited Turkey to participate in patrols of the Aegean but has never received a positive answer. Of 11,309 appeals lodged by Greece this year for the return of migrants to Turkey, only 108 were approved, Frontex statistics show […].

2 Responses to “Frontex, Turkey and a 47% increase in refugee arrests…”

  1. Rhona Leftwich said

    The increasing problem of illegal immigrants into Aegean islands must and should be addressed with some urgency within the EU. Countries such as Turkey, who appear not to take any responsibility for the traffiking of these immigrants. Being a resident of Samos, I know how distressing this is for residents of this tiny island and although Im sympathetic for the plight of these desperate people, I would like to state that I also have ‘human rights’ and would like to see laws and agreements between countries put into place to stop this. More sea patrols and a strengthened force would be one solution and for those countries who do nothing to protect their borders perhaps a form of sanction should be put in place.

  2. george said

    i agree with Rhona Leftwich

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