‘Refugees’ in Aegean turn out to be Colombian tourists
DHA PHOTOCoast Guard teams in the southwestern Turkish district of Bodrum searched Colombian tourists on Oct. 26 after suspecting that a family in a tour boat might be refugees trying to cross the Aegean Sea, Doğan News Agency has reported.
Tourists on the boat spotted people who were swimming with life jackets near the boat, believing that they were migrants.
After members of the Coast Guard arrived at the scene, they checked the boat and determined that the people were not in fact migrants trying to reach one of the nearby Greek islands but rather Colombian tourists.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard personnel have reportedly stepped up measures to prevent the illegal passage of migrants from the Bitez, Kara Ada, Turgutreis and Akyarlar areas with three new boats.
Particularly in 2015, Turkey became a key gateway for Syrian refugees fleeing their country and trying to reach the European Union in hope of a better life.
To halt the flow of migrants, the EU and Turkey in mid-March signed a deal, in which Turkey would take back all irregular migrants reaching Greece via Turkey back in exchange for the EU relocating Syrian refugees directly from camps in Turkey. The deal also included clauses over visa-free travel for Turkish citizens inside the EU’s Schengen zone and a total of 6 billion euros of funds to be used on Syrian refugees inside Turkey.