Over 90,000 irregular migrants held in northwest Turkey
More than 90,000 irregular migrants were held by Turkish security forces during the first nine months of 2019 in northwestern Turkey, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.
The migrants were held in Edirne province, which shares borders with Bulgaria to the north and Greece to the west.
In 2016, some 29,670 irregular migrants were held while trying to reach Europe.
The number of irregular migrants held totaled 47,731 in 2017 and 74,734 in 2018 in the same province.
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.
Officials estimate that the number of irregular migrants held in Edirne will reach 110,000 at the end of 2019.
The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, Tunisian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Egyptian, Libyan, Bangladeshi, Algerian, Somali, Ghanaian, Yemeni, Palestinian, Nepali, Eritrean and Nigerian nationals.
All of the migrants held during the course of the nine months were either taken to hospitals for medical treatment or transferred to provincial migration offices.
In 2018, 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry.
Some 336,707 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2019 so far, said Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.