Four so-called ‘refugees’, ostensibly fleeing war and persecution, have attempted to swim back to Turkey from Greece shortly after arriving in Europe.
The migrants, reported to by Moroccans, attempted the swim this Monday. They had been staying in Souda, one of three camps on the island of Chios.
The Island has the capacity to house around 1,200 migrants in official new camps, with electricity and free food. However, there is already overcrowding, as migrants are now required to register rather than being waved onto ferries and the mainland.
The registry offices are overwhelmed, and waiting times are said to be more than 50 days. Tired of the wait and losing confidence in ever reaching the generous welfare states of Northern Europe, the men simply decided to swim back to Turkey.
However, they were noticed by a fishing boat, pick up and handed over to the local Coast Guard. Another similar case was reported on Tuesday with two more refugees trying to swim back to Turkey.
Coast Guard officials told the Ethnos newspaper the migrants are perhaps against registering as refuges because if they are rejected they will be kept in holding centres before being deported back to their native countries. Some would rather attempt to illegally enter Europe.
In late March, Turkey and Brussels agreed to close the so-called Balkan route by which over a million migrants travelled through Greece and Macedonia north to the other EU member states during the past year.
According to the agreement, in exchange for financial and political favours Turkey pledged to take back all the illegal migrants who cross into the European Union from its borders.
Brussels will provide 3 billion euros in aid to Ankara for the more than 2 million Syrian refugees residing in Turkey, with the option to increase aid by an additional 3 billion. Turkey also expects an accelerated process of accession to the EU, one of its long-standing goals.
The deal has faced strong opposition from rights groups. A senior UN migration official, Peter Sutherland, has said Saturday that the deal was “absolutely” illegal and Amnesty International claimed that Turkey was not a “safe country”.