The Turkish Coast Guard has saved 289 migrants off Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts over the past week, interior ministry announced on Sunday.
In seven separate incidents, the Turkish Coast Guards intercepted 289 migrants and arrested seven migrant smugglers between March 3-10, the interior ministry's announcement read.
Separately 178 migrants were saved in four incidents in Turkey's western province Izmir's Çeşme and Seferihisar districts and Turkey's northwestern Aegean town Ayvalık, the announcement read.
Two search and rescue ships, 71 coast guard boats, 23 coast guard security teams (SAGET), six coastal safety and security search and rescue teams (DEGAK) and 39 control boats have patrolled for 2,197 hours to prevent irregular migration.
Turkey's five Aegean provinces -- Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Izmir, Muğla and Aydın are prime spots for refugees leaving Turkey for the EU, with Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.
Over the past years, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean in a bid to reach northern and Western Europe in search for a better life.
Hundreds of people have died at sea as a number of boats carrying refugees sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard has rescued thousands of others.
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