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Turkey catches 236 illegal migrants trying to reach Greek island

Saturday September 7, 2019

 Image: Google Maps.

ISTANBUL, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Turkish coast guard on Friday captured a total of 236 illegal migrants trying to sneak into a Greek island, local media reported.

The coast guard teams seized six inflatable boats packed with illegal migrants near the Cesme district of the western province of Izmir, the Haberturk daily said, noting the undocumented migrants from Syria, Somalia, Morroco, Bangladesh, Iraq, Afghanistan and Congo were attemping to reach the Greek island of Chios.

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The Aegean Sea was once the main route for migrants fleeing into Europe via Turkey. A deal signed in 2016 between Turkey and the European Union has helped to reduce the flow of illegal migration into the continent via Turkey.

Since this year, a total of 28,546 migrants have attempted to reach Greek islands via Turkey, up from 17,463 over the same period in 2018, according to figures released by the Turkish coast guard.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Thursday that Turkey could "open its doors" for the Syrian refugees to cross into Europe if Ankara does not get expected support to cope with the 3.6 million Syrians being sheltered on Turkish soil.

He claimed that the EU has so far granted only 3 billion euros (3.3 billion U.S. dollars) in financial aid to Turkey as opposed to the promised 6 billion euros (6.6 billion dollars).

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