[Ed. – A bureaucratic victory: there’s movement. They can probably dine off this one for months.]
The first migrants deported from Greek islands under a disputed EU-Turkey deal were shipped back to Turkey on Monday in a drive to shut down the main route used by more than a million people fleeing war and poverty to reach Europe in the last year.
Under a pact criticised by refugee agencies and human rights campaigners, Ankara will take back all migrants and refugees who cross the Aegean to enter Greece illegally, including Syrians.
In return, the European Union will take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey and reward it with money, visa-free travel and progress in its EU membership negotiations.
Two Turkish passenger boats carrying 136 mostly Pakistani migrants arrived from the island of Lesbos in the Turkish town of Dikili, accompanied by two Turkish coast guard vessels with a police helicopter overhead.
A third ship carrying 66 people, mainly Afghans, arrived there later from the island of Chios. …
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan excoriated European governments’ response to the crisis even as his government cooperated with the EU scheme.