A total of 16,000 asylum applications were processed in Greece in April, four times the usual monthly average, according to Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis.
He added that 11,000 applications were also rejected over the past two months, paving the way for returns to Turkey.
“They must return,” Mitarakis said in comments to Skai Radio. “This is a very major issue that Greece first raised with the European Union in 2011,” he said.
A new law allows authorities to detain any individuals believed to be a flight risk, Mitarakis said. The returns will most likely resume once restrictions for containing the spread of the coronavirus have been lifted.
Mitarakis added that authorities are investigating suspected financial mismanagement at some nongovernmental organisations. Some NGOs have done their job, he said while linking others to “mismanagement and dubious goals.”