UPDATES WITH MORE RESCUE OPERATIONS, CHANGES HEADLINE, DECK, LEDE
By Osman Uras, Unal Uysal and Omer Kundakci
MERSIN/MUGLA, Turkey (AA) - The Turkish Coast Guard on Monday rescued some 41 irregular migrants off the country’s southern and southwestern coasts.
In a statement, the coast guard said 16 migrants were rescued off the Anamur district of southern Mersin after they called for help as their boat started taking on water.
It said two suspected human smugglers were also detained.
Separately, 16 more irregular migrants were rescued off the coast of Dalaman and five in the Bodrum districts of the southwestern Mugla province.
Acting on a tip that rubber boats carrying irregular migrants were swept away due to engine failure, coast guard teams rescued the migrants and brought them ashore in two separate operations.
In another operation in Dilovasi in the northwestern Kocaeli province, four migrants – Iraqi, Iranian, and Syrian nationals who came from Istanbul to get to Italy – were found in a container.
After routine checks, the irregular migrants were taken to the provincial migration authority.
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Turkey hosts nearly 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world.
*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin