At least 335 irregular migrants held across Turkey
Six suspects arrested for organizing human trafficking
IZMIR /KIRKLARELI/ERZINCAN, Turkey
At least 335 irregular migrants who entered Turkey through illegal means were held in various provinces, security sources said Monday.
After receiving information that there was a group of irregular migrants in lifeboats off the coast of Cesme, Seferihisar and Dikili districts in Izmir province, Turkish Coast Guard units rescued a total of 137 irregular migrants who were pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greek authorities.
In a separate operation in Seferihisar district, security forces held 87 migrants in boats who were trying to illegally cross to Europe.
In another operation, the Turkish Coast Guard Command also rescued 24 migrants in Aydin province who were pushed back into Turkish territorial waters.
Meanwhile, some 71 Syrian and Afghan nationals who entered Turkey illegally were held in the last three days by security authorities in Kirklareli province.
The foreign nationals claimed that they were beaten in Bulgaria and sent to Turkey.
In Erzincan province, 16 more undocumented Afghan nationals, including nine children, were held by an anti-smuggling police team.
They were found in three cars that were stopped by police at a checkpoint on the Erzincan-Erzurum Highway, according to a source.
During the operations, at least six suspects were arrested for organizing human trafficking.
All of the asylum seekers were transferred to provincial migration offices.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Turkey, which already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world, is taking new security measures on its borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.