More Refugees Land in Greece, Turkey Swap Still On

Refugees stranded on Lesbos

Another 270 migrants and refugees landed on the island of Lesbos last week despite a suspended European Union swap deal with Turkey.

The Greek ANA-MPA news agency also said another 84 landed on Chios and three on Samos. The three islands are the closest to Turkey, the jumping-off point for desperate refugees and migrants who have been blocked from going to EU countries.

The number of those stranded on Lesbos because Greece can’t handle an overwhelming number of asylum applications is 2,960 with 2,480 on Chios and 1,059 on Samos, the agency said, which also reported 6,499 have applied for asylum.

Germany says the failed coup in Turkey has had no impact on the deal between the European Union and Turkey to cut the arrival of migrants by sea.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the EU will continue to fulfill its part of the deal including giving financial support to refugees living in Turkey.

Spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin that the migrants deal is in the interest of both the EU and Turkey, and that Germany expects Turkey to continue adhering to it.

More than one million migrants reached Europe last year from the shores of Turkey. A recent deal between the bloc and Turkey to return all migrants coming to Europe from Turkey has reduced the number of arriving migrants tremendously.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)