Turkey

More than 150 irregular migrants held in NW Turkey

Security forces find migrant's body in first-degree military forbidden zone

Cihan Demirci   | 11.02.2020
More than 150 irregular migrants held in NW Turkey file photo

EDIRNE, Turkey

Turkish security forces held 167 irregular migrants Tuesday who were attempting to cross into Europe through its northwestern Edirne province.

Provincial gendarmerie forces and police officers conducted operations against those seeking to enter Europe illegally, according to sources who asked not to be named.

Morocco, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Palestine national were held and later transferred to provincial migration offices.

During the operation, gendarmes found a body in a first-degree military forbidden zone near one of Edirne border villages.

Medical teams determined the male was an irregular immigrant about 20-25 years old and possibly died due to hypothermia.

Edirne province, which borders Greece and Bulgaria, is a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to start new lives in Europe, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

But strict monitoring by security forces prevents them crossing to the continent.

In 2019, Turkish authorities held a record 454,662 irregular migrants across the country, with about 60,000 caught while traversing the Mediterranean Sea.

As many as 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, 175,000 each in 2017 and 2016, and 146,000 in 2015.

About 28,000 human traffickers have also been rounded up by authorities in the past five years.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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