Turkey: Nearly 5,000 irregular migrants held last week

At least 4,974 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.

As many as 2,433 migrants were held in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne province, bordering Greece and Bulgaria.

According to local security forces in Edirne, Greece has recently stepped up efforts to send irregular migrants to Turkey in violation of the Geneva Conventions, European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention Against Torture.

In the coastal provinces of Canakkale, Balikesir, Aydin, Izmir, and Mugla, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 2,009 migrants as they were trying to cross to Europe through Greece.

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.

Separately, in the northwestern provinces of Kirklareli and Tekirdag, 71 migrants were held by gendarmerie forces.

Moreover, border forces and the provincial gendarmerie forces in the southern Hatay caught 158 migrants for trying to enter Turkey from Syria through illegal means.

In the southeastern Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Adana and Diyarbakir provinces, a total of 159 migrants were held by the gendarmerie forces and police.

Additionally, some 123 irregular migrants were also held by police in the central provinces of Nigde and Kirsehir.

In eastern Erzincan province, police detained 121 irregular migrants, who entered Turkey illegally.

The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, Moroccan, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Somalian, Yemeni, Palestinian, Malian, Gabonese, Senegalese, Burundian, Cameroonian, Angolan, Libyan, Lebanese South African nationals.

All of the migrants held during the week were either taken to hospitals for medical treatment or transferred to provincial migration offices.

In 2018, some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry.

Some 336,707 irregular migrants were also held in 2019 so far, said Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.

Source: Anadolu Agency