ANKARA: Three foreigners operating human trafficking activities were arrested in Turkey’s southwestern resort town of Bodrum on Wednesday while they were trying to smuggle 62 migrants into Greece.
The Turkish Coast Guard stopped a suspicious boat as it was traveling off the coast of Bodrum and found a total of 62 Pakistani and Afghan nationals, who were trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.
Three Georgian nationals, including a pregnant woman, were arrested for organizing the passage of the group after being transferred to the Department of Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime.
Over the past year, thousands of people have made short but dangerous attempts to cross the Aegean in a bid to reach Greece, before going on to Northern and Western Europe.
The EU-Turkey agreement reached on March 20 allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU.
According to the Coast Guard, in 2015, 279 migrants lost their lives in the Aegean, mainly through the use of unsafe vessels such as plastic boats.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that more than 3,000 refugees had reached Greek islands in August.
According to the authority, out of the 27,028 refugees intercepted by Turkey so far this year, 5,506 were held in January, 8,747 in February, 8,530 in March, 1,717 in April, 1,109 in May, 538 in June and 881 in July.