According to an article in the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman, Turkish Interior Ministry data indicates that human smuggling in Turkey has decreased since 2007, but that one consequence of increased enforcement within Turkey has been a diversion of human smuggling to the Turkish controlled northern portion of Cyprus.
“According to the ministry, the total number of illegal immigrants, asylum seekers and immigrants caught at land and sea borders with Syria, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Greece and Bulgaria declined to 28,355 in 2009.” This number is in contrast to the 50,800 migrants reportedly arrested in 2008 and 7,465 arrested over the first six months of 2010.
The Ministry also reported a decline in known deaths: “In line with the drop in the number of immigrants trying to get to the West through Turkey, there has been a decline in the number of illegal immigrant deaths. In 2007, 82 immigrants died in accidents on the Aegean Sea and 102 went missing. The number of deaths dropped to 76 in 2008 and to 43 in 2008. The number of deaths in the first half of 2010 was nine.”
According to the article, there has been a diversion of smuggling operations towards Turkish controlled Cyprus and as a result the “KKTC [the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] [is] facing the biggest migration move ever in its history.” “In 2008, the number [of irregular migrants] doubled and increased to 568. It continued to increase in 2009. According to estimates, 750 migrants entered the island in 2009. … Illegal immigrants are brought by ships to Cyprus during the night and left in places that are far from settlement areas in Dipkarpaz and the İskele region. In addition to the KKTC, a similar number of immigrants are brought to Greek Cyprus. It is believed that illegal immigrants pay between $2,000-$3,000 on average to human smugglers to enter the KKTC. In the latest smuggling cases in Turkey, they pay $5,000-$10,000.”
Click here for article.
Click here Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site on Illegal Migration.