Turkey helps decrease irregular migration to Europe
The flow of irregular migrants to Europe by sea has seen a sharp decline since 2015, following the EU-Turkey refugee deal, official figures show.
Data from International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Turkish Coast Guard Command, compiled by Anadolu Agency, reveals that the efforts by Turkey have also played a crucial role in saving human lives.
The number of people illegally crossing into European countries through Mediterranean and Aegean coasts has plunged by 94 percent in late 2017 compared with 2015, the IOM records say.
The IOM figures also say that irregular migration flow to Greece in 2015 was 853,650, but fell to 28,907 at the end of 2017, after Ankara and the EU reached a refugee deal.
The deal reached in 2016 aimed at discouraging irregular migration to Europe through the Turkish coasts, including a €6 billion ($6.9 billion) aid package to help Turkey care for millions of refugees hosted in the country.
According to Turkish Coast Guard Command data, the significant drop was reached due to daily anti-human trafficking operation in which dozens of mostly Syrian migrants were held.
More than 3,800 migrants were apprehended by the coast guard units in the first two months of this year, while over 2,800 people arrived in Greece by sea during the same period, figures show.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting and more than 10 million displaced, according to the UN.