Migrants denied access to cities not listed on identity cards

Migrants denied access to cities not listed on identity cards

Migrants denied access to cities not listed on identity cards

A Syrian family takes shelter at a playground in the resort town of Bodrum, Turkey, September 4, 2015. Reuters Photo

Migrants in Turkey have been denied access to provinces which are not listed on their identity cards, according to a notice issued by the Interior Ministry.

Authorities warned bus operating companies to treat migrants as stated in the notice and warned of potential lawsuits in which the companies’ officials would be tried as “human traffickers” if they carry or sell tickets to migrants without checking identity cards. 

Upon the notice, which permits migrants inside Turkish territories to move freely only in and between cities listed on their migrant identity cards, the gendarmerie command in the northwestern province of Edirne stepped up efforts to prevent illegal migrants from entering the Thracian city by checking migrants’ identity cards on an order from the Edirne Governor’s Office, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Sept. 10. 

Following an order from first Edirne Governor Dursun Ali Şahin and later Edirne Gendarmerie Colonel Kamuran Ersan, gendarmerie troops were deployed at highway entries to check cars as well as mass transit vehicles such as buses and minibuses.

In recent checks done in Edirne, the migrants who did not have “Edirne” listed on their identity cards were sent to Istanbul in Migration Management Directorate vehicles. One minibus driver was detained on a charge of human trafficking as a result.

In a separate gendarmerie check in Edirne, gendarmerie forces captured 117 migrants, including foreign nationals from Syria, Iraq and Pakistan, in only two hours as they attempted to to enter Edirne because Edirne was not listed on their identity cards, Cihan News Agency reported on Sept. 10.

Some of those captured who did not have passports or migrant identity cards were sent to a migrant transfer center. 

The move came less than a week after 192 migrants, of Syrian, Iraqi, Pakistani, Afghan and Moroccan origins were captured in Edirne while attempting to illegally cross into European countries, Doğan News Agency reported on Sept. 7.

Traffic in Turkey’s border provinces has been on the rise as European countries changed their migrant policy to welcome more migrants after a deadly migrant boat capsizing off the Aegean resort town of Bodrum left 12 people dead, including a Syrian toddler, which sent shockwaves around the world.

Geographically located between war-torn Syria and Iraq in the southeast and the European Union member states of Bulgaria and Greece in the northwest, Turkey has come to be a transition point for foreign migrants looking to illegally cross into the EU in an endeavor to flee the violence in Iraq and Syria, as well as those who have sought a higher standard of living.