Over 2,400 irregular migrants held in past week
As many as 1,038 migrants were held in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne, Kırklareli and Tekirdağ provinces, 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 U.N. Convention Against Torture.
In the coastal provinces of Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Aydın, İzmir, Muğla and Antalya, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 1,284 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.
Moreover, border forces and police in the southeastern Gaziantep province caught eight migrants for reportedly entering Turkey from Syria through illegal means.
Separately, in the eastern Malatya province, provincial gendarmerie forces held eight more irregular migrants.
In addition, some 21 migrants were also held by police in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, while in the northern province of Amasya, a total of 18 migrants were held over the past week.
In central Konya and Niğde provinces, provincial gendarmerie forces detained 25 irregular migrants.
The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Tunisian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Turkmen, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Indian, Algerian, Somali, Ghanaian, Yemeni, Palestinian, Eritrean and Nigerian nationals.
All of the migrants held during the week were either taken to hospitals for medical care or transferred to provincial migration offices.
In 2018, some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry. 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.