Turkey is key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives
At least 3,735 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.
Turkish gendarmerie forces held 1,475 of the migrants in the northwestern province of Edirne, which borders 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 Convention, European Convention on Human Rights, and the UN Convention Against Torture.
In the coastal provinces of Mugla, Canakkale, Izmir, Balikesir, Mersin and Aydin, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up over 1,500 migrants 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.
Separately, in the northwestern provinces of Kirklareli and Tekirdag, 303 migrants were held by gendarmerie forces.
Additionally, some 333 irregular migrants were also held by police in the northwestern province of Istanbul.
The migrants included nationals of Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco, Egypt, Bangladesh, Somalia, Yemen, Palestine, Mali, Gabon, Senegal, Burundi, Cameroon, Angola, Libya, Lebanon, and South Africa.
All of the migrants held during the week were either taken to hospitals for medical treatment or transferred to provincial migration offices.
In 2018, some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry.
Nearly 337,000 irregular migrants have been held in 2019 so far, said Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.