At least 226 illegal migrants and three organizers were detained in Turkey’s western city of Canakkale while attempting to illegally cross the sea border in the Aegean Sea, the Haberturk daily reported on Tuesday.
A fishing ship sailing on a suspicious route towards Italy was intercepted by two Coast Guard boats, revealing a human smuggling scheme, it said.
Organizers were arrested with charges of human trafficking, and 226 migrants were transferred to a “processing center” pending legal procession or deportation, it added.
Amid the soaring costs of living and a deteriorating global economy, many cross illegally into Turkey either with hopes of establishing a new life or reaching Europe.
Turkish law enforcement is on a campaign to combat human trafficking operations within its borders, as well as to prevent illegal attempts of entry and exit.
The Turkish Interior Ministry revealed that more than 125,000 people were detained since the beginning of the year as a part of this effort.
More than 45,000 people were deported in the first half of 2022 alone, and some 24,000 illegal refugees are still being hosted in processing centers pending deportation, according to the ministry.
The country currently hosts more than 4 million legal refugees, while the number of illegal migrants living within its borders is unknown. ■