Turkey

178 irregular migrants held across Turkey

Migrants held in northwestern Edirne, Tekirdag, Canakkale, Balikesir and southern Hatay provinces

22.01.2019
178 irregular migrants held across Turkey

By Cihan Demirci

ANKARA

At least 178 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Tuesday.

In the northwestern province of Edirne, gendarmerie forces rounded up 49 irregular migrants -- Afghan, Pakistani and Somali nationals -- after stopping a suspicious vehicle in the Uzunkopru and Enez districts, said a security source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Four people who were smuggling migrants were arrested, the source added.

In the northwestern province of Tekirdag, 42 irregular migrants – from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh -- were detained in a vehicle in Marmaraereglisi district during a patrol conducted by gendarmerie forces.

Two people were arrested for alleged human smuggling.

In a separate operation in the northwestern province of Canakkale, 14 irregular migrants -- six of them children -- were held in Kucukkuyu district by gendarmerie forces while trying to cross Greece illegally.

In the northwestern province of Balikesir, the Turkish Coast Guard rounded up 43 irregular migrants on a boat, off the coast of Ayvalik.

The Afghan-origin migrants were reportedly trying to cross to Greece. A child from the boat was taken to the hospital due to hypothermia.

Separately, 30 irregular migrants -- all Syrian nationals -- were held in Altinozu district of southern Hatay province when they were trying to illegally enter Turkey from Syria, another source said, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

All of the migrants were referred to provincial migration directorates.

In recent years, Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the start of the Syrian civil war.

Over 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to Turkey's Interior Ministry.

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