Greece and Turkey start joint patrols in the Aegean Sea to stop human traffickers

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The cooperation was discussed at a meeting of the heads of the Greek Coast Guard and the Turkish Coast Guard during Stylianides' visit to Turkey

Athens and Ankara seem to be taking a further step to stop illegal migration in the Aegean as, according to Ta Nea, the Greek Coast Guard and the Turkish Coast Guard will be in communication when they carry out patrols.

As explained by sources with knowledge of the contacts between the two countries, with this development, Greece and Turkey are moving from parallel actions on immigration to joint action at sea.

According to the same sources, the realisation of joint patrols also means acceptance on the part of the Turks that the action needs to start before the sea, that is, that it is necessary, for example, to break the traffickers' circuits by exchanging information.

A first example of the new closer communication between the two sides was the dismantling by the Turkish Police of human trafficking rings in Izmir and Istanbul, following information that the Greek intelligence agency (EYP) and the Coast Guard - communicated to the relevant Turkish Authorities.

This plan was reportedly discussed in its technical details and in the meeting held by the head of the Coast Guard and the head of the Turkish Coast Guard on the sidelines of the visit to Turkey by the Minister of Shipping and Insular Policy Christos Stylianidis where he met with the Turkish Minister of the Interior Ali Yerlikaya.

According to the publication, an officer of the Turkish Coast Guard has already arrived in Greece as part of the exchange of Coast Guard men from the two countries and will remain in Athens until he moves to Lesvos at the beginning of summer, which has received the greatest immigration pressure in recent years.

Finally, it should be noted that on February 21, the Turkish Minister of the Interior is scheduled to visit Athens, during which he will meet with the three ministers involved in the immigration issue, Dimitris Kairidis, Michalis Chrisochoidis  and Christos Stylianidis.

READ MORE: Aspides: The European operation against the Houthis in the Red Sea has a Greek name.

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