Coast Guard captures more than 21,000 irregular migrants this year
In the whole of last year, the Coast Guard intercepted nearly 14,000 people in 594 incidents of irregular migration.
From the start of this year until early December, 768 such incidents occurred, the Coast Guard said.
The most irregular migrant incidents were recorded in September, October and November at 116, 113, and 127, respectively.
Between January and Dec. 6, a total of 13 irregular migrants lost their lives, down from 37 loss of lives in the whole of 2020, while 97 suspected human traffickers were appended in 2021 against 46 suspects in 2020.
The Coast Guard also said that another 2,000 irregular migrants as well as 41 human smugglers were caught in operations conducted jointly with the gendarmerie and police forces in 2021.
Turkey has been a major transit country for irregular migrants, seeking asylum mostly in Europe. It also hosts more than 4 million refugees, most of them from Syria.
According to data from the Presidency of Migration Management, nearly 147,000 irregular migrants were caught in Turkey this year. In 2019, the figure was 455,000, but it dropped to 122,000 last year.
Most of those irregular migrants apprehended this year were Afghan nationals at 62,000, followed by Syrians at 21,400 and Pakistanis at 15,000.