UPDATE WITH MORE IRREGULAR MIGRANTS HELD; CHANGED HEADLINE, LEDE
By Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
ANKARA (AA) - At least 6,000 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.
A total of 1,858 migrants were held in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne, Kirklareli and Tekirdag provinces, 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 3,659 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.
Moreover, border forces and police in the southern Hatay province caught 206 migrants for reportedly entering Turkey from Syria through illegal means.
In eastern Erzincan, Sivas and Batman provinces, provincial gendarmerie forces detained 117 irregular migrants, who entered Turkey illegally.
Additionally, some 49 irregular migrants were also held by police in the central province of Kayseri, while in the south-central province of Adana a total of 100 migrants were held by police over the past week.
The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Tunisian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Turkmenistani, 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.