Migrants saved off Turkey’s west rise 70 pct in five years
REUTERS photoThe number of migrants rescued off Turkey’s west coast after failed attempts to reach European countries by the Aegean Sea has risen by 70 percent over the past five years, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Over the past six months, Turkish Coast Guards have rescued around 111,000 migrants who sought to traverse the sea in order to attain a better standard of living. Some 74,000 of them were reportedly Syrians.
Those rescued were also of Afghan, Myanmarese and Iraqi origin.
The amount of migrants rescued has risen by 70 percent over the past five years, a substantial rise in recent years.
The number of migrants rescued in 2010 was reported to be 1,219, a number that has changed to 84,830 in 2015.
In rescue operations conducted by Turkish Coast Guards so far, three planes, nine helicopters, two search and rescue vessels, 58 boats and three radar radio detectors have been used. Around 1,200 coast guards took part in the rescue operations during the same period.
The number of Syrians rescued in 2015 was reported to be 63,535, while the number of Afghans was 12,317. Turkish Coast Guards also rescued 2,979 Myanmareses, 769 Eritreans, 1,173 Iraqis, 517 Iranians, 155 Palestinians, 153 Somalis and 3,232 other migrants of various nationalities.
Geographically located between war-torn Syria and Iraq in the southeast and the EU member states of Bulgaria and Greece in the northwest, Turkey has become a transition point for migrants looking to illegally cross into the EU, fleeing the violence in Iraq and Syria and seeking a higher standard of living.
The wave of migration across the Aegean Sea has often resulted in injuries and deaths due to either the capsizing of migrant-carrying boats or abuse of migrants by human traffickers.
Thousands of refugees, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, make daily attempts to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greek islands, a short but perilous trip by boat, often in rough seas.
Thousands have braved the short crossing from Turkey this year, mainly in flimsy and overcrowded inflatable boats.
Inflows have increased recently as refugees try to beat the onset of winter, crossing the narrow sea passages between Turkey and Greece on overcrowded boats.