Turkey holds 3,467 irregular migrants in past week
At least 3,467 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.
Turkish gendarmerie forces held 1,269 of the migrants in the northwestern province of Edirne, which borders Greece and Bulgaria.
According to local sources in Edirne, Greece has stepped up efforts to send irregular migrants to Turkey in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the European Convention on Human Rights and the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
In the coastal cities of Muğla, Çanakkale, İzmir, Balıkesir, Aydın, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up over 1,926 migrants.
Among the 143 migrants sailing from Ayvalık in Balıkesir province, it was stated by the coast guard that 50 were Afghani children.
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.
In the northwestern provinces of Kırklareli and Tekirdağ, a total of 61 migrants were held by gendarmerie forces.
Also, 37 irregular migrants were held in the capital Ankara.
A total of 174 irregular migrants were held in southern Adana, Hatay and Kahramanmaras, western Manisa and southeastern Gaziantep.
The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, Moroccan, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Somali, Yemeni, Palestinian, Malian, Gabonese, Senegalese, Burundian, Cameroonian, Angolan, Libyan, Lebanese and South African nationals.
All of the migrants held during the week 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 have been held in 2019 so far, said Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.