Some 17,587 irregular migrants caught in March: Senior official

Some 17,587 irregular migrants caught in March: Senior official

Some 17,587 irregular migrants caught in March: Senior official

A total of 17,587 irregular migrants, 2,771 of whom were at sea, and 759 human smugglers were caught by security forces in March, Turkey’s Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı has said.

Çataklı’s remarks came at a monthly briefing in which he informed the media about the ongoing operations against irregular migration, terrorism, drug and smuggling.

The senior official noted that the number of registered Syrians in Turkey is 3.7 million, while the number of Syrians returning to their country is 492,983 as of April 4.

Since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Turkey has become one of the key transit points for migrants looking to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

After the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021, the number of Afghan nationals moving toward Turkey has also increased.

According to the data by the ministry, 24,013 of the irregular migrants apprehended in 2022 are Afghan nationals. They are followed by Syrians with 8,198, Palestinians with 2,237 and Pakistanis with 2,079.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands have made journeys through Anatolia to reach northern and western Europe.

Meanwhile, a total of 10,024 operations were conducted by security forces against terror groups in March, and 80 terrorists were neutralized, Çataklı said.

As for the month of March, a total of 8,515 rural and 1,509 urban-based counter-terrorism operations were carried out across Turkey, according to Çataklı.

Referring to the neutralized terrorists, he said 76 were captured alive, while four others surrendered to Turkish security forces. Among them are 53 PKK and 27 ISIL terrorist group members.

Stating that eight terrorist acts were prevented in the aforementioned month, Çataklı said that 40 shelters were destroyed as a result of all counterterror operations.

He also said that 3,098 suspects, who were believed to be aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, were detained and 363 of them were arrested.

Within the scope of terrorism crimes, efforts were carried out on 17,225 social media accounts, legal action was taken against 7,482 people identified and 179 suspects were caught, according to Çataklı.

The data given by Çataklı also showed that 26,806 people were detained in 20,585 operations carried out in March to combat drugs, 2,585 operations were carried out to combat smuggling, 3,551 people were detained and 41 people were arrested by judicial authorities.