The number of refugees caught crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece fell by 86 percent month-on-month in January, the Turkish Coast Guard said Wednesday.
The data seems to reflect the success of the EU-Turkey deal that came into effect last March to cut illegal migration and clamp down on human trafficking.
According to the Coast Guard command, 756 people were intercepted in January compared to 5,506 in the same month last year. Last month’s figure is the second-lowest number of people intercepted in the Aegean in two years.
During January 2016, 103 people drowned while attempting to reach Greece. Last month there were no recorded fatalities.
Tens of thousands have attempted the short but dangerous journey across the Aegean before heading to northern and western Europe. The International Organization for Migration has estimated there were more than 363,000 arrivals in Europe by sea last year.
Under a deal with the EU, Turkey has stepped up efforts to prevent illicit migrants reaching EU member Greece and has agreed to take back those who land in Greece in return for the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Europe.