1080 illegal migrants detained in extensive operation against human trafficking networks
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
The images handed out by the Gendarmerie Forces shows a boat full of undocumented migrants heading to an European country. DHA photoThe Turkish police have detained 1080 illegal migrants in 11 simultaneous operations carried out on Nov. 29 against human trafficking networks operating in Turkey’s western coasts.
Up to 17 suspects were arrested while nine boats and three buses used to transport the migrants have been seized. The extensive operation directed by Istanbul province Gendarmerie forces, in coordination with the Coast Guard and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was conducted in the Tekirdağ and Kocaeli provinces bordering Istanbul, as well as the coastal Antalya, Muğla and Aydın provinces.
According to the investigations, the network was headed by an Iraqi citizen identified as M.A. It would organize the journey of undocumented migrants from countries such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, hiding them in Istanbul’s popular Arnavutköy and Gaziosmanpaşa districts, before transporting them via the Black Sea or the Aegean Sea to Greece, Bulgaria or Romania.
The network’s activities were being watched for over seven months prior to the operation.
Turkey is increasingly becoming a transit country for illegal migrants from the Middle East or West Asia seeking to enter Europe, especially since the civil war in Syria.
Six migrants, including three children, died after a boat capsized off of Balıkesir’s Ayvalık district in the early hours of Nov. 29.
Last September, Turkish Coast Guards intercepted a migrant boat carrying 235 people on the verge of capsizing off of the southern Antalya shores. In Oct. 8, another migrant boat carrying 115 people was intercepted after colliding with a Coast Guard vessel.