Turkey PM says returns under EU migrant deal to begin on April 4
(ANKARA) - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Thursday said a key migrant deal concluded with the European Union to curb the flow of illegal migration would begin to be implemented on April 4 with the return of some migrants from Greece to Turkish territory.
In one of his regular televised addresses to Turks, Davutoglu confirmed that, under the scheme agreed with the EU, one Syrian refugee would be settled in Europe legally in return for every migrant who arrived on Greek islands and Turkey received back.
"That's to say, with the one-for-one method, the number of refugees in Turkey will not increase and also nobody will sustain any human loss with the ambition of travelling to Europe via the Aegean Sea," he said.
"This practice will begin as of April 4."
Davutoglu was referring to the deaths of hundreds of migrants who drowned crossing the Aegean from Turkey to the islands of EU member Greece.
Turkish and EU leaders agreed this month a deal for curbing the influx of migrants that has plunged Europe into its biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War II.
An EU source told AFP in Athens earlier that 500 people were set to be sent back to Turkey on Monday "barring a last-minute problem".
It remains unclear how the migrants will be transported from Greece and where in Turkey they will be taken to.