Over 1,2 million irregular migrants held in Turkey in last five years
More than 1,2 million irregular migrants trying to get to Europe from Turkey were held in last five years as a result of Turkish police, gendarmerie and coast guard teams’ effective work, according to data compiled from security sources.
A total of 454,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2019, according to the data.
This figure was the highest number ever.
In 2018, around 268,003 irregular migrants were held in Turkey.
This figure was 175,752 in 2017, 174,466 in 2016 and 146,485 in 2015.
The migrants were mostly nationals of Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan and Iraq.
Of the irregular migrants held in 2019, 201,437 were Afghan, 71,645 were Pakistani and 55,236 were Syrian citizens.
Of the 1,219,368 irregular migrants held in the last five years, 414,458 were Afghan, 282,683 were Syrian, 175,529 were Pakistani and 86,408 were Iraqi citizens.
Some irregular migrants fell into the hands of human traffickers or lost their lives to traffic incidents, freezing to death, or drowning at sea.
A total 8,996 of human trafficker suspects who allegedly helped to irregular migrants to get in and get out of the country were detained last year.
Over 27,000 human trafficker suspects were detained in last five years during the operations conducted by law enforcement forces.
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.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in over 3.6 million Syrians who fled their country, making Turkey the world’s top refugee-hosting country.
Irregular migrants generally face the risk of being capsized with dinghies while trying to reach the Kos and Symi islands of Greece.