289 migrants caught off Turkey’s coasts

289 migrants caught off Turkey’s coasts

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
289 migrants caught off Turkey’s coasts

A total of 289 migrants were apprehended off Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts over the past week, Turkish Interior Ministry announced on March 12.

Between March 3 and March 10, Turkish Coast Guards intercepted 289 migrants in seven separate incidents and arrested seven migrant smugglers, the ministry’s written statement read.

Separately, 178 migrants were apprehended in four incidents in the western Turkish province of İzmir’s Çeşme and Seferihisar districts and Turkey’s northwestern Aegean town of Ayvalık, the statement read.

Two search and rescue ships, 71 coast guard boats, 23 coast guard security teams (SAGET), six coastal safety and security search and rescue teams (DEGAK) and 39 control boats have patrolled for 2,197 hours to prevent irregular migration, according to the ministry.

Turkey’s five Aegean provinces -- Çanakkale, Balıkesir, İzmir, Muğla and Aydın -- are prime spots for refugees leaving Turkey for the European Union, with Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.

Over the past years, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean in a bid to reach northern and Western Europe in search for a better life.

Hundreds of people have died at sea as a number of boats carrying refugees sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard has rescued thousands of others.