Another 545 irregular migrants held across Turkey

At least another 545 irregular migrants have been held across Turkey on 20 and 21 March 2019, according to multiple security sources in reports by Anadolu news agency. This brings the total number of irregular migrants held across Turkey to 1,000 between 18 and 21 March 2019.

The largest group of migrants held on 20 March 2019 were detained in eastern Bingol province. According to a statement from the provincial governor’s office, the group of 195 migrants, out of which 169 were Afghan nationals, was detained while on the move. Another 30 migrants comprising of Afghans and Pakistanis attempting to illegal head to Istanbul were held by gendarmerie forces in Cankiri province. The group were stopped while on a bus, and sources said the driver was also arrested.

On 21 March 2019, a group of 72 migrants, of which 68 were from Afghanistan, were detained in eastern Erzincan. While in Tekirdag province, another 122 were held by gendarmerie forces.

Along water routes, the Turkish coastguard detained 40 irregular migrants from the occupied Palestinian territories on a boat off the coast of Aegean Aydin province.

Afghan irregular migrants were also detained in Kirklareli and Van province. They were traveling with other nationalities, including Pakistanis, Algerians, Guineans, Cameroonians and Moroccans.

Many of the Afghans detained could be deported back home. Between January and early April 2018 alone, Turkey deported at least 7,100 Afghans.

Turkey is the most popular transit route for migrants from Afghanistan in search of safe haven and economic opportunities in Europe. To manage the flow of migrants to Europe, the European Union struck an agreement with Turkey in 2016. Turkey has since tightened control on asylum seekers and migrants attempting to get to Europe. The Turkish Interior Ministry said 268,000 undocumented migrants and refugees were held in 2018.

TMP – 24/03/2019

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