Bus carrying irregular migrants crash near the Iran-Turkey border, 17 injured

A minibus carrying over 30 irregular migrants crashed into a cliff in eastern Turkey, close to the border with Iran on 16 August 2019.

Turkish authorities reported that 17 irregular migrants were injured in the accident. The seats in the bus were reportedly removed to accommodate more people inside, resulting in the lack of seatbelts and handles to keep passengers secure. Police said they have launched an investigation of the accident. The nationalities of the migrants were not revealed in the report.

This is the second such incident in less than 30 days. Last month, another minibus accident in the same province killed 17 irregular migrants and the driver, and injured another 50. News reports said the minibus tumbled down a hill and hit a riverbed. Turkish state broadcaster TRT showed video footage of bodies scattered around the accident site, and rescuers carrying the wounded away.

The eastern Turkish province of Van is located near the Iranian border, and is part of a popular route for irregular migrants traveling from countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, towards Turkey and Europe.

Since 2015, more than a million irregular migrants have passed through Turkey. The country is also host to the world’s largest migrant and refugee population, with close to four million refugees within its borders.

It is unclear what will happen to these irregular migrants after they are discharged from hospital.

Turkey has been tightening control on irregular migrant movements in the past few years. It signed an agreement with the EU in 2016 to manage the flow of migrants attempting to enter Europe. The country’s Interior Ministry said it has held at least 165,000 irregular migrants throughout the country in 2019. Of those, nearly 17,000 were picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard. The irregular migrants are from a variety of nationalities in Asia and Africa.

Last year, the Interior Ministry said it also detained 268,000 irregular migrants. Thousands of those from Afghanistan are deported back to Kabul.

TMP – 06/09/2019

Photo credit: Giannis Papanikos / Shutterstock.com

Photo caption: Analipsi, Greece – November 13, 2018. An SUV which crashed after a police chase while carrying migrants who entered Greece illegally from Turkey.