Nearly 900 undocumented migrants detained in Turkey in two days
ERZURUM / ERZİNCAN
More than 875 undocumented migrants have been detained in Turkey since Feb. 27, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported, citing security sources and the Turkish military.
In a statement posted on its official website on Feb. 28, the Turkish General Staff said 673 people were detained as they attempted to enter Turkey via borders with Greece, Syria and Iraq on Feb. 27.
Out of the 673 detained, 500 were detained attempting to cross into Turkey from Syria, 37 from Greece and 10 from Iraq.
Some 126 people were also detained on Feb. 27 as they attempted to cross into Greece from Turkey.
Separately, in the eastern Erzurum province, 48 undocumented Afghan migrants were detained on the Erzurum-Erzincan highway close to the Aziziye district, according to an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media.
They were taken to a repatriation center in Askale district, the source was quoted as saying.
Moreover, in the eastern Erzincan province, 157 more undocumented migrants were detained in two different operations.
On the Erzincan-Erzurum highway, 117 migrants, including 13 women and six children were detained, among them Afghans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
The migrants were found walking in the villages of Balaban Sarikaya and Karakaya as they headed towards Erzincan on the highway.
A bus driver who dropped off the migrants on the highway together with the 117 undocumented migrants were remanded in custody.
In another operation, 40 undocumented migrants were detained as they used the Eastern Express, a dedicated rail line between capital Ankara and the northeastern province of Kars.
During a check at the station in the Mercan town of Erzincan, security forces became suspicious of the migrants, among them two women and three children, who had used fake documents to buy the train tickets.
The migrants were brought to a sports complex to prepare them for deportation.
Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.
The majority of migrants detained in 2017 in Turkey came from Pakistan – around 15,000 – followed by Afghans at around 12,000. Syrians totaled about 10,000.
There has been a 60 percent increase in migrant flow since 2016. The number was 31,000 in 2016.