Istanbul – Turkish authorities on Tuesday raided a ship carrying 276 migrants and eight suspected smugglers before it could leave the coast of the Aegan city of Izmir, the coastguard said.
In a joint operation following a tip-off, police and the coastguard stopped the Turkish-registered merchant ship docked near Izmir’s Narlidere district and detained the eight suspected smugglers.
“The migrants on board, including 46 women and 59 children, were from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Somalia, the Central African Republic and Iran,’’ state news agency Anadolu said.
The ship’s destination was not immediately known.
Turkey hosts almost 4 million refugees, including 3.6 million from neighbouring war-torn Syria.
Migrants from Syria and other conflict zones in the region attempt to use Turkey as a gateway into Europe.
Tuesday’s foiled attempt in Izmir follows a tragic boat accident in the south-eastern city of Van.
Search efforts are still ongoing 10 days after a boat carrying round 60 migrants capsized on Lake Van.
“Authorities have recovered 11 bodies so far while five suspected smugglers were detained,’’ Anadolu said.