From file: Turkish coast guard officers help carry a woman off a life raft during a rescue operation in the Aegean Sea on Sept. 12, 2020 | Photo:Emrah Gurel/  AP Photo
From file: Turkish coast guard officers help carry a woman off a life raft during a rescue operation in the Aegean Sea on Sept. 12, 2020 | Photo:Emrah Gurel/ AP Photo

Turkish media reports say that over 100 migrants have been intercepted by the Turkish coast guard on the Aegean coast off the western province of Izmir. Meanwhile, seven others were reportedly rescued at sea.

Coast guard command teams have stopped a total of 103 migrants trying to leave Turkey using irregular means on October 25, according to Turkish media reports. 

The Hurriyet newspaper reported that initially 70 of them were found in three rubber boats just off the popular coastal resort town of Cesme. Locals had reportedly tipped Turkish authorities off about seeing the migrants preparing to leave.

The daily publication said these migrants had been "rescued" without highlighting however just how far into the sea the group had already traveled, nor whether the group were in any kind of distress when they were intercepted.

A little later, officials reportedly received another tip-off, and sent the coast guard out once more. Another 33 migrants in a rubber boat were "rescued" during that operation, according to Hurriyet. There were no further details on that operation either.

As relations between Turkey and Greece have once again become tense, government-approved media in Turkey, like Hurriyet tend to report these kinds of operations as "rescues." Turkey accuses Greece of illegally pushing migrants back at sea, while Greece accuses Turkey of not doing enough to deter people from departing from Turkish shores.

Read more: Turkey accused of deporting hundreds of refugees to Syria

Dangerous sea journeys on the rise again

During the second mission, the coast guard team also saved seven migrants. This time, reports say that the migrants indeed were stranded at sea in their boat due to engine failure. 

On shore, the irregular migrants were reportedly handed over to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management.

The sea route between Greece and Turkey is popular among refugees and migrants hoping to reach Europe. In recent weeks, there's been another uptick in people trying to reach Europe this way, as the weather conditions have been relatively mild for this time of the year.

However, relying on a good weather report could be fatally misleading: Thousands of migrants attempt the perilous crossing each year, with many fatalities being reported as well. Over 60 people have died in the Aegean since the beginning of the year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Read more: Turkey doubles down on Greek pushback claims after another rescue at sea

 

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