By Orhan Onur Gemici
ANKARA (AA) - Some 315,000 irregular migrants -- aiming to illegally cross to Europe -- were held across Turkey in the first nine months of the current year, Turkish interior minister said on Wednesday.
About 268,000 people were held while attempting to illegally cross to Europe in 2018, said Suleyman Soylu, adding his ministry is expecting the number to reach 400,000 at the end of 2019.
“We have been trying to explain to Europe about the illegal migrants from Afghanistan and Africa for 3-4 years. Unfortunately, they don't understand. Almost 45.5% of the migrants that reach Europe are Afghans,” Soylu said.
Soylu further said that distance between countries in the world do not provide protection, adding: “If the Middle East is not safe, Paris is not safe, Berlin is not safe, and other parts of the world are definitely not safe.”
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.
* Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak