Despite Brussels striking and championing a deal with Ankara on sending migrants arriving at the Greek islands back to Turkey, very few of those asylum seekers are actually being returned. Maria Stavropoulou, the former head of the Greek asylum service, told the Greek daily Kathimerini that only 16 percent of migrants who arrived in Greece can be sent back to Turkey. European directives and Greek law are apparently stopping authorities from sending migrants back to Turkey because the country is not considered a safe place for most people other than Syrians. Additionally, those who can be sent back often linger in Greece for a long time due to appeals and cancellation requests. Furthermore, Stavropoulou noted in the interview that an increasing number of Turkish nationals — 1,800 in 2017 — are applying for asylum in Greece.