Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, has made a deal with Turkish President Recep Erdoğan to bring illegal migrants from Turkey’s massive reception centers to the Greek region of Albania, as reported by Albanian media.
The two countries recently signed a defence co-operation treaty. While its specifics have not yet been publicized, the Albanian news media is reporting that a leak shows that one of its clauses allows for the relocation of 30,000 asylum-seekers and illegal migrants from Turkey to Northern Epirus this year, according to a report by Greece’s Protothema.
Although flights to and from Albania have been halted as a coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention measure, an exception has been made for flights from Istanbul. Some believe this is an indication that the transfer of the migrants is imminent.
Northern Epirus, which was once part of Greece, was incorporated into Albania by the victorious Allies after both World Wars. Today it is still home to approximately 120,000 ethnic Greeks.
Greeks in Albania have long been subjected to harassment by the Albanian authorities, including school closures and property confiscation.