Coast guard rescues 52 migrants off western Turkey

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 03.02.2019 18:52 Modified 03.02.2019 21:33
emDHA Photo/em
DHA Photo

Turkish coast guard units on Sunday rescued 52 irregular migrants, including 25 children, in the western province of Aydın.

The units sprang to action after learning a rubber boat carrying the migrants was stranded in the Aegean Sea due to engine failure.

The migrants included 45 Afghans, six Iranians, and a Gabonese. They were transferred to the provincial migration office.

In recent years Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe.

Some 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.

Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in 2016 to curb illegal immigration through the dangerous Aegean Sea route from Turkey to Greece. Under the deal, Greece sends back migrants held on Aegean islands after they crossed over from nearby Turkish shores, and in return, EU countries receive a number of Syrian migrants legally.

The deal, reinforced with an escalated crackdown on human smugglers and more patrols in the Aegean, significantly decreased the number of illegal crossings. However, some desperate migrants still take the route, especially in winter months when a safe journey through the Aegean is nearly impossible aboard dinghies.

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