The European Union saw a 70 percent drop in migrants illegally entering from Turkey in the first nine months of 2020, German daily Welt reported Tuesday.
“The number of arrivals from Turkey in the EU in the year 2020 was 14,579,” according to the newspaper, citing a report from the EU Commission and the European External Action Service.
Of the migrants entering the EU this year, 11,921 went to Greece, 2,334 to Italy, 35 to Bulgaria and 289 went via boat directly to Cyprus, Welt said, citing the EU report.
Brussels made a deal with Ankara in 2016 that, among other things, was aimed at curbing the number of migrants illegally entering the EU in exchange for financial support to host the refugees in Turkey.
In February and March of this year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened his country’s border with Greece to illegal immigrants trying to enter Europe.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in March that his government had allowed 75,000 people to cross the border into Greece, but the figures in the EU report cited by Welt do not back up that claim.