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Turkey arrests six, including gendarme, for people smuggling

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(ISTANBUL) - A court in Turkey's western region of Izmir placed under arrest six people on charges of trafficking migrants seeking to cross the Aegean to the European Union, including a sergeant in the Turkish gendarmerie, reports said Saturday.

The member of the gendarmerie, a branch of the army responsible for domestic security, is suspected of turning blind eye to the trafficking of migrants and also tipping off smugglers about planned operations against them, the CNN-Turk channel and Dogan news agency said.

In exchange for his help, the sergeant, named only as R.A. received bribes of $100 per migrant or $3,000 for a boatload of migrants, the reports said.

He and five other people-smuggling suspects were remanded in custody Friday by the court in the Seferihisar district ahead of trial. The gendarme has been charged with taking bribes and abuse of office.

Also remanded in custody was C.O., the suspected leader of the smuggler's gang. Reports said that the gendarme was caught red-handed while eating with C.O. and being handed money.

Turkey has since 2015 become a hub for migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and other troubles states seeking to make the sometimes perilous crossing across the Aegean Sea to EU member Greece.

For this, many enlist the help of people smugglers who are paid thousands of dollars per head to supply the boats and organise the crossings.

Ankara reached an agreement with the EU in November to stem the flow of refugees heading to Europe, in return for financial assistance of three billion euros ($3.2 billion) in cash.

But the onset of winter and rougher sea conditions do not appear to have deterred the migrants, with boats still arriving on the Greek islands daily and EU officials expressing disappointment over the continued flow.

However Turkey appears to have stepped up efforts, stopping boats, rounding up suspected smugglers and seizing hundreds of sub-standard life jackets given to the refugees.

It was not immediately clear if this was the first time a member of the Turkish security forces had been arrested as part of the crackdown.


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People smugglers in Turkey

Posted by LYN WICK at 25 January 2016, 00:30 CET
I saw a video of this ,those in authority watching ,people smugglers leaving dingy just off Turkey coast . To make money and forcing too many on unsafe dingy/boats is murder and I hope that it is taken seriously