By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) – No less than 4,428 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.
A total of 911 migrants were held in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne province, bordering 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 Conventions, European Convention on Human Rights and the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
In the coastal provinces of Canakkale, Balikesir, Aydin, Izmir and Mugla, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 2,858 migrants as they were 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, a total of 276 migrants were held by gendarmerie forces.
Moreover, border forces and police in the southern Hatay province held 200 migrants for reportedly entering Turkey from Syria illegally.
In the eastern Erzurum and central Sivas provinces, provincial gendarmerie forces detained 29 irregular migrants who entered Turkey illegally.
In the southern Adana and southeastern Gaziantep provinces, a total of 101 migrants were held by police over the past week.
Additionally, some 53 irregular migrants were also held by police in the central provinces of Nigde and Kirikkale.
The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Tunisian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Indian, Algerian, Somali, Ghanian, Yemeni, Palestinian, Eritrean and Nigerian nationals.
All of the migrants held during the week were either taken to hospitals for medical care or transferred to provincial migration offices.
In 2018, some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry. 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.