Protracted regional conflicts and a lack of hope for the future has contributed to the significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees taking to the seas in an effort to reach Europe. In 2015, nearly 850,000 migrants and refugees took a perilous journey to cross to Greece. The majority of those using this migration route were Syrians, followed by Afghans and Pakistanis. Children accounted for more than one in five of those who crossed, but disproportionately accounted for thirty percent of all recorded deaths in the Aegean Sea.
Since 2015, more than 1.03 million migrants and refugees have crossed into Greece as of July 2017. Following the adoption of the EU-Turkey statement in April 2016, the number of migrants and refugees crossing from Turkey and Greece did drop, although more than 173,000 people still made the journey in 2016. The Turkish Coast Guard has rescued nearly 140,000 migrants and refugees since 2015.
The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is the only humanitarian organization on the ground operating within Turkish Coast Guard premises providing direct humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees immediately following their rescue. Since beginning operations in November 2015, more than 15,000 migrants and refugees have received assistance from IOM Turkey after their rescue