Home Office enters negotiations with Turkey to send migrants straight back as Turks rank third in illegal crossings to Britain

Home Office enters negotiations with Turkey to send migrants straight back as Turks rank third in illegal crossings to Britain

WATCH: Jacob Rees Mogg claims "We're not succeeding in integrating migrants to this country"

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 09/01/2024

- 09:46

Updated: 09/01/2024

- 09:50

It comes as the Rwanda proposals remain in limbo after being declared unlawful by the Supreme Court

The Home Office is looking to strike a deal with Turkey to allow small boat migrants to be sent straight back to their home country.

Ministers are seeking a deal with Ankara that will be modelled on the one reached with Albania which contributed to a 90 per cent fall in small boat migrants from that country last year.

The Daily Mail reports that new figures show Turks were the third largest nationality among Channel migrants during 2022, with 3,060 making the crossing.

They were second only to Afghans with 5,579 and Iranians with 3,581.

\u200bJames Cleverly and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo\u011fan

Home Office enters negotiations with Turkey


Home Secretary James Cleverly will lead the negotiations in a video meeting with Turkish counterparts.

A Home Office source told the Mail: "We maintain successful close co-operation with Turkey in lots of areas.

"But, as with understandings with a number of countries, including Turkey, we are always keen to augment and develop those understandings to our mutual benefit."

There are concerns among minister that Turkey's economic profile and location on the edge of the European Union, combined with people-traffickers trying to increase business, could mirror the circumstances which led to the surge in Albanian migrants seen in 2022.


People on a small boat

Refugees trying to flee in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece on November 3, 2023


Fifty Albanian migrants arrived by small boat in 2020, followed by 800 in 2021 and more than 12,600 in 2022.

However, a returns agreement was signed with Albania in December 2022.

Following the announcement, this number fell to fewer than 1,900 last year.

At the weekend Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed the Albania returns deal as evidence of his Government's progress on tackling small boats.

The future of the controversial Rwanda scheme hangs in the balance after being declared unlawful by the Supreme Court.

Mr Sunak believes new legislation, expected to return to the Commons next week, will remedy judges' concerns.

Sky News reports that Sunak "had no serious interest" in illegal or legal migration "until he was persuaded otherwise during the campaign".

Yesterday he said he never said he was going to axe the Rwanda policy, but did not deny considering it.

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