Aegean Sea migrant crossings see hike after Turkey’s coup attempt

Aegean Sea migrant crossings see hike after Turkey’s coup attempt

Yorgo Kirbaki – ATHENS
Aegean Sea migrant crossings see hike after Turkey’s coup attempt

AA photo

The number of migrants reaching the Greek islands from Turkey has hiked since the failed military coup attempt of July 15, pointing to a shortage of controls on the Turkish side. 

A total of 2,335 migrants have reached Greece via Turkey since the thwarted coup attempt, while a total of 112 migrants were saved from the sea by Greek and Turkish coast guards on Aug. 17.

The number of migrants reaching Greek islands since the March 18 Ankara-Brussels deal aiming to curb the flow of migrants in the bloc up to June 14 was 8,440. This figure increased to 8,477 by July 14, one day before the failed coup attempt, marking an increase of just 37 people in one month.

However, the number of migrants reaching Greece after taking the perilous journey over the Aegean Sea from Turkey rose to 2,298 in the month after the coup attempt. 

With the latest surge, the total number of migrants in Greece has increased to 57,679. 

As the number of migrants risking their lives in the Aegean for hopes of better lives in Europe has hiked, the number of migrants being rescued from the sea has also increased. 

The Greek Coast Guard rescued 59 migrants from an inflatable dinghy off the island of Kos on Aug. 17, while a second vessel reported to be in trouble was picked up by Turkish authorities, the Associated Press reported.

A total of 147 people arrived on three Greek islands in the 24 hours between the morning of Aug. 16 and morning of Aug. 17, including those rescued in rough weather off Kos. Of the others, 44 reached the small island of Kalymnos and the remaining 44 were picked up by the coast guard from another inflatable dinghy off the island of Lesbos.

Also on Aug. 17, the Turkish Coast Guard rescued passengers on a migrant boat who had called for help citing engine problems, according to the Greek authorities. The boat was found in Turkish waters following an initial search operation on the Greek side between the islands of Samos and Ikaria. The caller said there were about 53 people on board.

Greece has sent eight Syrian refugees to Turkey on Aug. 17 after they gave up their right to asylum, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.      

A special flight was chartered by Frontex and the eight refugees flew by Astra Airlines to Adana, southern Turkey, according to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA). 

The Turkish General Staff announced on July 27 that a total of 8,651 soldiers had taken part in the failed coup attempt of July 15, which made up 1.5 percent of the military’s total personnel.

It also said 35 planes, including 24 fighter jets, 37 helicopters, 74 tanks, 246 armored vehicles and three ships were used in the coup attempt, while 3,992 light weapons were used by soldiers who participated in the coup attempt.