DIKILI - Turkey's Coast Guard stopped 63 Palestinians and Syrians trying to cross to a Greek island on Saturday, underlining the scale of the security forces' task in convincing illegal migrants they won't be allowed into the EU.
A controversial European Union deal to return rejected asylum seekers to Turkey is due to go into action on April 4.
The group stopped on Saturday was trying to cross to the Greek Island of Lesbos from the Turkish town of Dikili on the Aegean coast. The men, women and children were seen sitting in a white tent, shielding their faces, with dozens of orange life jackets piled outside.
Disagreement over how to deal with hundreds of thousands of migrants from Syria and elsewhere threatens to tear the 28-nation EU apart, making the deal with Turkey critical to resolving the crisis.
Turkey agreed last month to take back all migrants and refugees who crossed informally into Greece after March 20 in exchange for financial aid, visa-free travel for Turks and slightly accelerated bloc-membership talks.