Turkish security forces have intercepted over 1 million irregular migrants in the last 10 years - a figure that exceeds the total population of 60 provinces in Turkey.
Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria. In 2018, nearly 252,000 irregular migrants were intercepted as of November's end. This is the highest number for a year over the last decade in Turkey. Last year, around 176,000 irregular migrants were intercepted across Turkey, while security forces rounded up some 175,000 others.
Additionally, the Turkish Coast Guard has stopped some 175,600 irregular migrants in the Aegean, Mediterranean and the Black Sea in the last four years.
Meanwhile, Turkish security forces have arrested nearly 25,600 human smugglers in the last nine years.
Turkey's seas, particularly the Aegean in the west, have seen a large influx recently with more migrants boarding dinghies to reach Europe. They travel in overcrowded and unsafe boats to reach the Greek islands scattered across the Aegean region and only a few kilometers away from Turkish shores. Deaths are common in these crossings as many migrants, despite paying thousands of dollars to smugglers, are forced to travel in rubber boats crowded far beyond their capacity.