ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey's state-run news agency says security forces have conducted anti-smuggling operations in five cities and detained 18 suspected people-smugglers, most of them Syrian nationals.
The Anadolu Agency says Monday's synchronized operations focused on the coastal city of Izmir, the departure point for many migrants seeking to cross the Aegean and reach the shores of Greece, and on the Black Sea town of Samsum. Security forces also carried out raids in Istanbul, another hub for smuggling rings; the central Anatolia city of Aksaray; and the southeastern city of Sanliurfa.
Sixteen addresses were targeted in total, according to the Anadolu Agency, in an ongoing operation spearheaded by Izmir police. During the raids, police found lists with the names of refugees, encrypted files, stashes of foreign currency and money counters. The suspects have been transferred to a detention facility in Izmir.
Turkey has committed to crack down on smuggling operations as part of a deal with the EU aiming to stem the flow of illegal migrants from Turkey to Europe.