ATHENS – Committees reviewing appeals for asylum from refugees stuck in Greece have declared it would be unsafe for them to be returned to Turkey, contradicting a ruling from the country’s highest administrative court, the Council of State.
The court ruling also was at odds with other Greek courts who said Turkey wasn’t a safe country for the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers who fled a failed coup attempt – they said they weren’t involved – against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July, 2016.
Some 64,000 refugees and migrants have been stuck in Greece and kept in detention centers and camps for up to two years or more since the suspension of a European Union swap deal with Turkey, which had allowed human traffickers to flood Greek islands with people fleeing civil wars and strife in the Middle East.
The Council of State said refugees and migrants slated for return to Turkey wouldn’t face torture, inhumane treatment or punishment but the asylum appeals committees said otherwise, good news for some 700 Syrians who were supposed to be deported.
That also means, however, that they and others could wind up staying in Greece permanently as the EU has shut its doors to them and dumped the problem on a country more than 7 ½ years into economic and austerity crises.