Turkish sergeants detained over human smuggling
AYDIN – Doğan News AgencyTwo sergeants and one specialized sergeant have been detained, along with 11 others, for allegedly carrying out human smuggling activities in the western provinces of İzmir and Aydın on June 1.
The detention of the 14 suspects, also including local municipality personnel, came as gendarmerie forces conducted simultaneous raids in the Söke and Didim districts of central Aydın, and in İzmir.
While one of the sergeants was detained in operations in İzmir, the other sergeant and the specialized sergeant were captured in Aydın. The suspects are accused of organizing the illegal journeys of 265 migrants in eight different incidents, sources have said.
Human smuggling activities on the Aegean between the Turkish and Greek coasts have increased massively in recent years, with the international community expecting them to step up measures to curb the illegal journeys that have caused the deaths of thousands of migrants leaving their war-ravaged countries to start a new life in Europe.
Around 850,000 migrants and refugees crossed into Greece in 2015, paying smuggling gangs to ferry them over from Turkey in frail boats. Hundreds have lost their lives during the crossings.
The International Organization for Migration estimates that 3,771 migrants overall have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe last year. The final number for 2015, released on Jan. 5, was up from the 3,692 figure that the agency released before Christmas.