Ministry: Resettlement of refugees from Turkey is complicated ({{commentsTotal}})

Two war refugees who have been relocated to Estonia. Sept. 8, 2016. Source: (Mihkel Maripuu/Postimees)

The resettlement of war refugees from Turkey to Estonia is still complicated and the proceedings are slow, the Ministry of the Interior said on Thursday.

In the first half of February, four Syrian refugee families arrived in Estonia, two of which relocated from Turkey. This is only the second time that war refugees have arrived in Estonia from Turkey.

"We are making efforts to get the proceedings in Turkey to move faster, but we see that it is still compliated and takes more time than planned," a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS.

Last August, two Syrian families arrived in Estonia from Turkey in the framework of the European migrant relocation plan, following which the arrival of migrants to be resettled from Turkey stopped. Hanno Pevkur, then Minister of the Interior, said that this was due to Turkey not letting people leave the country following an attempted coup.

So far, no refugees have arrived in Estonia from Italy.

"It is hard to predict when we will start accepting people from Italy," the ministry spokesperson noted. "We have done everything we can on our part to get permission to conduct interviews there."

She added that Estonian representatives have discussed the topic with the Italian ambassador to Estonia. The Estonian Minister of the Interior also expressed the wish to be granted permission to conduct interviews with refugees in Italy during a meeting in Malta with his Italian counterpart.

Since March 2016, Estonia has accepted a total of 107 quota refugees under the EU's migrant resettlement and relocation plan — including 87 people from Greece and 20 from Turkey. The quota for Estonia is 550 people over a two-year period.

According to an agreement between the EU and Turkey, Estonia will accept up to 200 refugees from Turkey.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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