Migrants have begun to return to Turkey on comfortable ferries, replacing the overcrowded and dangerous boats on which they traveled to Greece, under a deal between Turkey and the EU that began implementation earlier this month. In recent days, 36 migrants arrived in Turkey's İzmir and Muğla, two cities on the Aegean coast lying only a few nautical miles away from Greek islands, which were the favored gateway to Europe for Syrian migrants.
Afghans and Iranians were among the refugees who arrived in the Çeşme district of İzmir from the Greek island of Chios on Tuesday, while another group traveling from the island of Kos arrived in Milas, Muğla, as reported by Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency.
Migrants fingerprinted and registered by Turkish officials will be sent to centers in other Turkish cities for resettlement in their home countries. The EU reached an agreement with Turkey in March to return migrants who were refused asylum in Greece to towns in western Turkey, in exchange for resettling Syrian refugees from camps in southeastern Turkey in European countries such as Germany, Finland and the Netherlands. The deal stipulates 6 billion euros in aid to Turkey for the care of Syrian refugees, who number more than 2.7 million in Turkey.
The agreement was the last resort for the continent seeking to curb refugee flow as the war in Syria that displaced hundreds of thousands of people sent Syrians looking for a better life and generous social benefits in Europe. Speaking to Reuters, Greek government spokesman for the migration Giorgos Kyritsis said they were "not cutting corners [and] ...not delaying," adding that Greece was sticking to legal procedure, so that the asylum process is completed "in the best possible way," as the slow process of resettlement from Greece to Turkey is linked to Greece's inability to smoothly process an overwhelming number of asylum applications among migrants seeking to stay in Europe.