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NATO To Help Turkey, Greece Stop Migrant Smuggling In Aegean

Members of the nonprofit organisation Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) gesture from the shore to a boat carrying refugees and migrants as it arrives in Mytilene on the northern Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean Sea.

NATO allies have agreed to a plan for their ships in the Aegean Sea to help Turkey and Greece work against the criminal groups that are smuggling migrants into the European Union.

Speaking after late-night talks in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on February 25 that Greek and Turkish forces will not operate in each other's territorial waters or airspace.

But other NATO vessels will be able to sail in the territorial waters of both Greece and Turkey.

Stoltenberg also said any migrants rescued from the Aegean Sea by the NATO operation will be returned to Turkey, which is receiving 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) to build camps and help take in more refugees.

Relations between Greece and Turkey, both members of NATO, have traditionally been tense.

Since a deal reached on February 11 by NATO defense ministers to deploy ships to the Aegean, Greece's defense minister has accused Turkey of trying to undermine the operation.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa