144 irregular migrants lost their lives so far in Turkey: Report
Some 144 undocumented immigrants have died so far this year due to reasons such as traffic accidents, freezing and drowning, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported, citing data from the Directorate General of Migration Management.
Many of the irregular immigrants first enter Turkey through illegal means and then seek to enter Europe via the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas.
In the first six and a half months of this year, 28 irregular immigrants died by drowning when trying to pass through these routes, said the agency. But, thanks to the precautions taken by the Turkish Coast Guard Command against irregular immigration, there has been a decrease in the number of such deaths compared with previous years, said the agency.
In 2018, some 93 irregular migrants drowned on these routes from Turkey to Europe, whereas this figure was 56 in 2017, 192 in 2016 and 279 in 2015, the agency said.
Thanks to the efforts of the Turkish Coast Guard, the lives of 16,724 irregular immigrants have been saved so far in 2019 within the Turkish Search and Rescue Region in territorial and international waters, the agency said.
Of the 144 deaths of undocumented migrants in 2019, some 64 occurred in traffic accidents. The accidents occurred while the undocumented migrants were trying to illegally enter Turkey or change provinces in the country, said the agency. The number of irregular immigrants that died in traffic accidents in 2018 was 43, according to the agency.
Some 52 irregular migrants froze to death while trying to enter Turkey or during their attempt to cross to Greece. Some 39 of them died in Turkey’s eastern province of Van, bordering Iran, this year, while 13 of died in Turkey’s northwestern province of Edirne, bordering Greece.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants were detained in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.