Over 400 migrants intercepted by Turkey
Some 4,223 people have died in the Central Mediterranean route linking North Africa and Italy. (AFP/File)
A total of 422 migrants were intercepted by Turkish police over the last week en route to Greek islands, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday.
According to a statement, the operations were carried out between Jan. 27 and Feb. 3.
Coast Guard patrols apprehended 56 migrants offshore trying to cross the Aegean Sea between the southwestern Bodrum peninsula and the Greek island of Kos.
The statement said that in the resort town of Cesme, west of Izmir province, Coast Guard patrols also apprehended 85 migrants aiming to reach the Greek island of Chios.
In separate incidents, 281 migrants were also spotted in the Sea of Marmara and the Mediterranean Sea, the ministry said.
Security forces also detained at least six people during operations over alleged immigrant smuggling, the statement added.
Thousands of people have made short but dangerous attempts to cross the Aegean Sea in a bid to reach Greece, before going on to northern and western Europe.
Of the 4,715 migrants and refugees who lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2016, 429 migrants died in the Eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Some 4,223 people died in the Central Mediterranean route linking North Africa and Italy, while 63 others perished in the Western Mediterranean route linking West Africa to Spain, said the IOM.
More than a million refugees and migrants travelled from Turkey to Greece last year before an EU-Turkey deal stemmed the flow in March.
The agreement allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU.
- Libyan coast guard intercepts 850 migrants attempting Mediterranean crossing
- Over 1,400 refugees rescued off Greek coast in 72 hours
- Mediterranean rescues continue: Over 10,000 migrants saved from sinking vessels in 48 hours
- 600 British militants stopped from reaching Syria
- Number of refugees reaching Greece through Aegean Sea on the rise again