Turkey key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives
At least 1,546 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.
As many as 457 migrants were caught in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne province, which borders Greece and Bulgaria.
In the northwestern provinces of Kirklareli and Tekirdag, a total of 54 migrants were held by gendarmerie forces.
In the eastern provinces of Van and Kars a total of 44 migrants were held by police and gendarmerie forces over the past week.
In the coastal provinces of Canakkale, Balikesir, Aydin, Izmir, Mugla and Antalya, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 911 migrants as they were trying to cross to Europe through Greece.
Moreover, some 14 irregular migrants were also held by police and gendarmerie forces in the southern province of Adana.
Separately, border forces in the southern Hatay province caught 54 migrants for reportedly entering Turkey from Syria through illegal means.
A total of 12 migrants were held by police in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri.
The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Senegalese, Central African, Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian, Somali, Libyan, Togo, Cameroonian and Palestinian nationals.
All of the migrants held during the week were either taken to hospital for medical care or transferred to provincial migration offices.
In 2018, some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry.
This year so far, at least 165,000 irregular migrants have been held across Turkey, Suleyman Soylu, Turkey’s interior minister said Sunday.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.