Over 200 migrants detained in Turkish police crackdown
TMP – 17/11/2017
Law enforcement officers in Turkey have detained over 220 migrants across the country in a crackdown on irregular migration. Turkish local media reported that all the detainees had entered the country illegally and did not possess any official documents.
A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a total of 151 migrants were held in eastern Van province. According to another official, 71 other migrants were apprehended in northwestern Edirne province as they were heading towards Greece and Bulgaria. These migrants included nationals from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
Three days prior to the arrests, the Turkish coastguard intercepted a vessel in the Aegean Sea carrying 310 migrants, heading towards Greece. The coastguard reported that most of the migrants onboard were from Afghanistan and Syria.
Seven Turkish nationals, alongside two Belarusians, were also arrested for their part in attempting to smuggle the migrants to Greece.
Thousands of migrants residing in Turkey continue to attempt the dangerous journey to Greece via the Aegean Sea, despite the EU-Turkey deal from last year which allows Greece to return irregular migrants to Turkey.
According to data provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 2,800 migrants have lost their lives while attempting to cross the Mediterranean so far this year.