The plenary of Greece’s Council of State rejected on Friday a request by two Syrian refugees not to be returned to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal, ruling that the neighbouring country is safe for them, in a decision that may affect numerous other similar cases.

Presenting its ruling, the court rejected their plea to nullify the rulings of the asylum committees which had denied their request to be recognized as refugees and granted asylum. It said that Turkey has ratified the Geneva Convention and has agreed on a joint action plan with the European Union to support Syrian nationals who enjoy international protection. At the same time, the CoS noted that these two people, who entered Greece through Turkey, have family and relatives there.

The judges also cited law 4375/2016 which allows Greek authorities to reject an asylum application if a country is deemed a safe third country for the applicant. According to law 4375/2016, a country is deemed safe for a specific refugee when the criteria of that law are cumulatively met. These criteria are examined on a case-by-case basis and for each applicant separately.

The CoS rejected the Syrians’ claim that their lives and freedom are at risk if they are sent back to Turkey, saying that there is no evidence to support it and rejected their claim that the European Convention on Human Rights is being violated.