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The migration to Greece is increasing, as Erdogan warns of even more

SKALA SIKAMINEAS, Greece – The first dinghy landed at 17:45 on a rocky shore near a remote Greek fishing village. After the thirteenth arrived about 35 minutes later, 547 migrants had landed in broad daylight within a few meters of each other on the Greek island of Lesbos.

This August 29th flotilla echoed a pattern that had not been seen here since the beginning of 2016, when the European Union of Turkey, which is within sight of Lesbos, pledged more than $ 6 billion to its border controls to exacerbate and keep migrants out of Europe.

In recent years, only one or two refugee boats have made it to the coast of Greece every day, which greatly alleviates the migration crisis in Europe. But this rhythm changed in this August, the busiest month in more than three years, and sparked fears of a new wave of mass migration across the Aegean.

The arrival rate is still only a fraction of the 2015 peak, as Lesbos was the busiest European entry point for migrants – especially people who fled the Syrian civil war. Last month, nearly 10,000 migrants arrived in Greece. In October 2015, at the height of the crisis, it did more than 210,000.

But the recent upswing comes when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey again threatens to allow a large number of migrants to make their way through Turkey to Greece if European politicians fail to provide further financial support to Turkey. or reject his plans to expand Turkish influence in northern Syria.

the gates.

The increase in August shows that this may not be an idle threat. However, if he intends to create a new refugee crisis for Europe, Erdogan will have fewer tools available than in 2015, when Syrian refugees found it easier to enter Turkey.

Turkey has since completed a border wall and has done so imposed restrictions on Syrians traveling from Lebanon or Jordan. Any easing of these controls, the admission of more people, even if they use only Turkey as a bridge to Europe, would be politically risky for Mr Erdogan.

But 3.6 million Syrian refugees are already living in Turkey, the world's largest Syrian expatriate population, along with hundreds of thousands from other countries. If Turkey makes their life untenable or eases their efforts to keep them out of Europe, it could have a dramatic impact.

"Erdogan's recent statements on triggering a new wave of refugees are the result of his growing frustration with the large numbers already in Europe, Turkey," said Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based research group.

"What we found strange was that this was a trend and they did not change their course of action to stop it," said Finn Sands-Robinson, head of Refugee Rescue land-based observation team.

"We would be smuggled back to Iran and then deported again," he said. "And that happened too often."

True or not, even a slight increase in arrivals intensifies the misery of refugees in Greece.

In 2015, new arrivals could quickly move to the Greek mainland. and then on to Germany. But today, migrants live in the Greek islands, mostly in overcrowded and degenerate camps that do not seem to be in place on the world's richest continent.

Unaccompanied children are particularly at risk. Officially, 747 refugee children live on Lesvos without their parents and are provided with safe shelters by the authorities. Due to the poor registration processes, however, more undocumented undocumented children are living in the camp.

A teenager, Mohammed al-Othman (16), lives in a cramped tent with twelve other people from his native province in Syria. He left Syria in August after his school was bombed. Since his mother only had enough money to smuggle a family member, Mohammed left alone.

Since his arrival in Greece, he has received no treatment for four splinter wounds sustained during an air raid.

"The treatment is very bad. "They said," They just asked me, how old are you, are you sick, and they left me out? "

He was wearing a shirt with the words," Adulthood. "

The words were crossed out .

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