Turkish authorities intercept hundreds of migrants trying to cross Aegean

by Reuters
Friday, 18 March 2016 15:37 GMT

In this 2013 file photo, the hamlet of Fontainhas perches on a cliff on the northern coast of the island of Santo Antao, Cape Verde. REUTERS/Jean-Francois Huertas

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DIKILI, Turkey, March 18 (Reuters) - Turkish authorities have intercepted hundreds of migrants on land and at sea trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos in a major operation involving the coastguard and helicopters, officials told Reuters on Friday.

Dikili district governor Mustafa Nazmi Sezgin told Reuters he knew of around 300 people who had been detained in his district alone. Two Turkish officials in Ankara said the total number detained was around 3,000.

The detentions came as European Union leaders in Brussels approved a controversial deal with Turkey intended to halt illegal migration flows to Europe in return for financial and political rewards for Ankara.

(Reporting by Orhan Coskun in Ankara and Melih Aslan in Istanbul; Writing by Daren Butler)

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