Anxious migrants wait as EU-Turkey deal proceeds

Pakistani migrants outside Greek camp say they fear repatriation

Anxious migrants wait as EU-Turkey deal proceeds

World Bulletin / News Desk

As the return of irregular migrants from Greece's Lesbos island continues, a group of refugees from Pakistan are still waiting anxiously to see what the future holds.

 The EU-Turkey agreement made on March 20 allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU. The first batch of returnees arrived in Izmir's coastal town of Dikili on April 4.

While most of the irregular migrants who arrived to Greece from Turkey are being held in Camp Moria, a group from Pakistan are being kept outside the camp for various reasons, such as arriving before March 20 and the facility being too crowded.

The refugees who spoke to Anadolu Agency mainly worried about being repatriated to their countries, after spending thousands of euros in the expectation of a better life. 

Volunteers who managed to build a small camp near a shore close to Camp Moria deliver food two times a day to around 300 refugees, most of them from Afghanistan, Iran, Algeria and Morocco. The volunteer camp is planned to be shut down and refugees are expected to be moved to Camp Moria soon. 

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, 26-year-old Faysal Mahbub said he arrived to Turkey three weeks ago from Pakistan's city of Lahor and went through a dangerous journey. 

"It is impossible to build a future in my country where every second there is a bomb threat," said Mahbub, who added that in order to reach the island, from time-to-time he had to walk for 24 hours and spent nearly 3,000 euros [$3,400].

"We don't want food, we don't want help. We want to take refuge. We are helpless here. I love Turkey and I would love to stay in Turkey, but the only thing I don't want is to be repatriated to Pakistan," he said.

Mahbub also mentioned he and other illegal migrants did not want to go to Camp Moria because it was very crowded and it is tough to find food. 

Another Pakistani, 21-year-old Ossama, said he left because the Taliban attacked the university where he studied computer engineering. 

"I cannot go back to my country; it is impossible for me to live there anymore. I want to stay in Greece and continue with my education. I cannot leave the island; if I leave, I may get arrested," Ossama said, adding that he spent nearly 5,000 euros to get there and a friend of his was killed along the way. 

Ossama also mentioned that he was rejected from Camp Moria because of capacity problems.

The deal between the EU and Turkey is aimed at breaking the people smuggling gangs who have been trafficking refugees across the Aegean Sea, resulting in hundreds of deaths, according to EU and Turkish officials.

It also provides a six billion euro [$6.8 billion] aid package to help Turkey care for millions of refugees, visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the EU and fast-tracked EU accession for Turkey.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 152,000 people have crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece so far this year and 366 have died during the voyage.

Source: Andolu Agency 

Last Mod: 10 Nisan 2016, 15:49
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