Protests erupt over plan to build migrant camps in Turkey

Ankara, April 3 (IANS) Protests broke out on Saturday in the western Turkish town of Dikili over government’s plan to build camps there for migrants to be returned from Greece under a deal with the European Union (EU), Turkish media reported.

Hundreds of Turks, including those visiting Dikili, workers and shop owners, staged a rally in the town of some 45,000 to say no to the establishment of refugee camps, the Hurriyet daily said.

“We definitely don’t want refugee camps in Dikili,” Mayor Mustafa Tosun was quoted as saying.

The mayor noted that poor infrastructure in the town is not sufficient for hosting tens of thousands of refugees, Xinhua reported.

It is not clear yet when the camps will be built in Dikili, which is set to have the first batch of migrants to be returned from Greece on Monday.

Under a Turkey-EU deal finalised last month, migrants who have crossed illegally from Turkey into Greece from March 20 will be sent back to Turkey.

The returned migrants, after completing their registrations in centres set up in Dikili, will be able to stay in the camps to be built or join their relatives across the country, according to the Turkish Refugees Department.

Dikili has been used as a staging point by about one million migrants to cross the Aegean Sea to Greek islands since last year.

Ankara accepted the return of migrants in exchange for financial aid, visa-free travel for Turks and accelerated EU membership talks.

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