131 irregular migrants held off Turkey's western coast

131 irregular migrants held off Turkey's western coast

İZMİR-Anadolu Agency
131 irregular migrants held off Turkeys western coast

Some 131 irregular migrants attempting to illegally cross to neighboring countries were held in Turkey’s western province of Izmir, security sources said on Jan. 12.

The Coast Guard stopped boats carrying 54 Palestinians, 60 Syrians, 14 Kuwaitis, two Somalians and one Iraqi national off Cesme district, according to the sources.

While no further details were provided, the sources said the migrants were referred to the Provincial Directorate General of Migration Management.

Connecting Europe and Asia, Turkey is a common route for irregular migrants en route to European countries.

Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, about 175,000 each in 2017 and 2016 and 146,000 in 2015.

Roughly 28,000 human traffickers have been caught by Turkish authorities in the past five years.