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First Legal Refugees From Turkey Were Resettled To Germany, The Netherlands and Finland

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European Commission Statement on EU-Turkey Migration Agreement.

Statement made by Commissioner Avramopoulos following his visit to Ankara.



Brussels, 4 April 2016

Press statement to Ebs in Ankara

I have just met with the President of the Turkish Republic. It was a very constructive meeting.

Before that I met with Prime Minister Davutoglu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Interior.

Whether it is addressing the ongoing refugee crisis or fighting terrorism, Turkey is our key partner, and the EU is Turkey’s partner. Today’s meetings happened in this light.

On migration

The aim is to replace disorganized, chaotic, irregular and dangerous migratory flows by organised, safe and legal pathways to Europe for those entitled to international protection in line with EU and international law. And that’s precisely what we are doing.

Today and tomorrow, we are seeing the first number of Syrian refugees being resettled directly and safely from Turkey to Germany, the Netherlands and Finland in line with the EU-Turkey Agreement.

In parallel, this morning, 202 people were returned from Lesvos and Chios to Turkey via ferry.

These are people who have arrived to Greece after the agreement of 20 March, and who have not asked for asylum.

We are making sure that everything happens according to EU and international law. Let me be crystal clear: there will be no blanket and no automatic returns of asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey.

I am glad to see the first steps of implementation of the agreement between EU and Turkey taking shape today. Of course we are not there yet. Both Turkey and Greece – who are mainly responsible for implementing the agreement – still have to do a number of things, and the Commission and EU agencies are there to support them.

Turkey has passed legislation to assure access to protection for Syrians, which is an important step.

In parallel, I have discussed with the Turkish authorities how to ensure access to asylum procedures for all non-Syrians who are returned and wish to apply for protection.

Turkey also has to fulfill a number of outstanding conditions to be granted visa liberalization by the end of June. This progress needs to happen as soon as possible, by the end of this month. Turkey is committed to addressing all outstanding issues.

In the meantime, I call on EU Member States to send all the human resources that are needed in Greece, because many things still need to happen at operational level.

I am in close contact with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Grandi to ensure that the UNHCR remains involved in all reception operations.

On security

This is a shared threat that we face as the EU and Turkey. As we mourn the victims in Brussels, we also deplore the loss of life in Ankara, Istanbul and Diyarbakir.

Both our regions have been scarred by the ugly face of terrorism. But it has made us stronger in our will to cooperate and fight this phenomenon.

Today Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, has accompanied me in my meetings on all security-related aspects.

Today we have put Europol in direct contact with the Turkish law enforcement agencies.

Today is a demonstration of how we are establishing new means of cooperation between the EU and Turkey.

To conclude on my meetings today: To shared challenges — we offer shared solutions.

{Source: European Commission}

[Photo credits-featured image:   Kocatepe Camii (“Kocatepe Mosque”) in Ankara, Turkey, has room for a 100,000 worshippers, making it one of the largest mosques in the world. – By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader,, CC BY-SA 3.0,]


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