Turkey captures at least 165 illegal migrants off Mediterranean coast

Turkish security forces on Monday caught at least 165 illegal migrants off Mediterranean coast, local media reported.

The state-run Anadolu agency said coast guard and gendarmerie forces captured the migrants from Afghanistan and Somalia on a tour boat off the Kumluca district in the province of Antalya. The migrants were trying to cross to Europe.

Online news portal Sonhaber.com, meanwhile, put the number of the migrants at 190, saying that they intended to cross illegally to Greece, but were caught by gendarmerie forces when their boat had engine failure. The platform claimed that the refugees were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

Since the beginning of this year, 15,535 migrants were attempted to cross to Europe via Turkey’s seas, down from 29,279 over the same period in 2019, the Turkish coast guard revealed.

Hosting over 3.7 million Syrian refugees in its territory, Turkey earlier announced that it could no longer cope with the issue alone, and urged European countries to take more responsibility.

The Aegean Sea was once the main route for migrants trying to reach Europe via Turkey. A deal was signed between Turkey and the European Union in March 2016 to curb the flow of illegal immigration.