Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledged on Thursday the significance of the migrant deal signed between the European Union and Turkey in decreasing the number of refugees illegally passing on the Aegean Sea.
Speaking during a press conference on Lesbos island, Tsipras said the situation would be "three times as bad" if a migration agreement between the European Union and Turkey had not been signed.
"We are not satisfied with this situation, and it is very difficult both for the islanders and migrants," said Tsipras, who admitted that his government had made mistakes in managing the migrant crisis.
Far-right residents of the Greek island of Lesbos clashed with police late Thursday over an ongoing migrant crisis, according to local reports. The protests erupted Tsipras' visit to the island, where around 2,500 people marched to demand that all migrants be evacuated from Lesbos' Moria refugee camp. Police used teargas to disperse the protesters, who were carrying anti-refugee banners. Lesbos hosts an estimated 9,000 asylum seekers.
Turkey and the EU signed an agreement on March 18, 2016, to stem the influx of refugees to Europe. Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe since the beginning of the civil war in Syria. With the agreement, there has been a significant decrease in illegal migration from Turkey on the Aegean Sea. While an estimated 7,000 people tried to get to the EU from Turkey in October 2015, it decreased to 43 this January.
Germany hosts over 2,500 Syrian refugees from Turkey
Germany ranked first in hosting Syrian refugees from Turkey in 2017, with more than 2,500 people settling in the European nation, according to Turkish migration authority data.
Directorate General of Migration Authority data revealed that Germany tops the list with 2,733 Syrians living there under temporary protection. Holland ranked second with 2,128 Syrians, followed by the U.S., which allowed settlement for 1,064 Syrians.
In Finland, 845 Syrians settled and 790 others are in France. According to the report, 12,000 people left Turkey to settle in other countries in 2017. In addition, Turkey sent 6,148 Syrians to Canada, 4,829 to Germany from 2014 to 2018; 3,900 Syrians were sent to the U.S., while 2,609 were sent to Holland and 1,699 to England in the same period.