Turkey captures over 12,000 migrants on Aegean Sea in 2014
DHA PhotoA total of 12,872 migrants trying to cross into Greece from Turkey over the Aegean Sea were captured by Turkish Coast Guard Command teams in 524 separate incidents in 2014, while 74 people were also arrested on charges of smuggling migrants, Anadolu Agency has reported.
The number of migrants who were captured in 2013 was 8,047, including 6,937 on the Aegean Sea. The total number of migrants captured by authorities across Turkey in 2012 was 2,531. The official number in 2011 was 546, which means that the number of captured migrants has increased 24-fold since then.
The majority of the migrants were Syrian, while the others were mostly from Afghanistan and Myanmar.
The number of migrants trying to reach Europe through the risky sea route via the western and southern Turkish coasts has dramatically increased in recent years, particularly since the beginning of the civil war in Syria. Tens of thousands of migrants have also attempted to cross the Greek and Bulgarian borders by land.
The İzmir Governor Office released a statement on Dec. 29, 2014, saying that 52 migrants had been captured by coast guard teams in four days, while two suspects had been detained for organizing the illegal crossings. The migrants were reportedly from Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq, Nigeria and Eritrea.
In addition to those detained by authorities, many migrants have been killed on the Aegean and Mediterranean seas while trying to reach Europe.
The U.N. refugee agency reported in November that more than 2,500 people had drowned or disappeared in 2014 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
In a recent tragedy, some 24 migrants died after a boat carrying refugees capsized off Istanbul’s northern coast in the early hours of Nov. 3.