LESBOS: Greece was due Monday to send the first migrants back to Turkey under a hugely controversial EU deal that has faced heavy criticism from rights groups.
Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala has said his country is ready to receive 500 people Monday and that Greek authorities had provided 400 names, although these numbers could change.
The action will be focused on Lesbos, a Greek holiday island that has served as the European gateway for hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants arriving in flimsy boats from Turkey in the last year.
Police sources on Lesbos on Sunday said there had been a flurry of last-minute asylum applications amongst the 3,300 migrants there.
“We… have over two thousand people that have stated their wish to seek asylum and we need to see a credible process go ahead with the Greek asylum service for those that wish to express their protection concerns,” said Boris Cheshirkov, the UN refugee agency spokesman on Lesbos.
Migrants could also be sent back from other islands that have seen a large influx, such as Chios, where members of EU border agency Frontex were seen arriving Sunday.