Mitarachi: Attempt to return Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals aboard the Turkish-flagged ship


An attempt to return to Pakistan and Bangladesh the nationals of the two countries aboard a Turkish-flagged ship is being examined by the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, Minister Notis Mitarachi said.

In an interview with OPEN TV, Mitarachi said that "it is a great priority for me to reach an agreement with the ambassadors of Pakistan and Bangladesh" in order to "return those who are not entitled to international protection".

He also called on the mobilisation of the European Union.

According to sources in the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, about 250 people out of 375 who have been transferred to the Kos Reception and Identification Center are Pakistani or Bangladeshi.

Also, 112 people are from Afghanistan, while among the passengers of the ship are citizens from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

Also, according to Mitarachi, 140 people declare themselves minors and "we have asked the International Organization for Migration to go to a medical level that specialises in calculating age."

Regarding the incident with the ship, which broke down while it was in international waters near Crete, Mitarachi stressed that "Greece was mobilised immediately because the ship was in the Greek search and rescue area" and the Greek Coast Guard "began to tow the ship to the Dodecanese, where there is a reception structure."

At the same time, he described that Greece launched a double effort to inform Turkey and the EU, however, "Turkey refused to take back the ship - although it is clear that it started from Turkey - and from the EU we did not have any specific possibility of support."

It is noted that the Minister of Immigration and Asylum will be in Turkey today, on a scheduled visit at the invitation of the Minister of Interior of the neighbouring country.

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