By Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
ANKARA (AA) - At least 4,407 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.
As many as 1,916 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 UN Convention Against Torture.
In the coastal provinces of Canakkale, Balikesir, Aydin, Izmir, Mugla and Antalya, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 2,227 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, 114 migrants were held by gendarmerie forces.
Moreover, border forces and police in the southern Hatay province caught 114 migrants for trying to enter Turkey from Syria through illegal means.
In central province of Kayseri, a total of 36 migrants were held by police and gendarmerie forces.
The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, Tunisian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Egyptian, Libyan, Bangladeshi, Algerian, Somali, Ghanaian, Yemeni, Palestinian, Nepali, Eritrean and Nigerian nationals.
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.
Some 336,707 irregular migrants were also held in 2019 so far, said Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.