Turkey sees all-time high number of held migrants
The number of irregular migrants in Turkey reached an all-time high of over 269,000 between this Jan. 1 and Sept. 12, according to official state data.
The number of migrants held in 2019 has already topped last year's overall number of just over 268,000, according to the Migration Management Directorate General. The number may well rise further by the end of the year.
Most of the attempts at irregular migration took place in the northwestern border province of Edirne, where nearly 74,000 irregular migrants were held, up 70% from last year.
Over the last 15 years, the overall number of held irregular migrants reached 1.53 million, and the yearly breakdown of held irregular migrants since 2015 is listed below:
|Year||Number of irregular migrants|
|2019 (8.5 months||269,059|
In the Aegean Sea, since January coast guard and gendarmerie teams held 31,641 irregular migrants in 920 operations. During the operations 44 human traffickers were arrested. Twenty-eight of the immigrants died in the Aegean.
The migrants in 2019 were mostly Afghan and Pakistani nationals, and the number of held immigrants by country is listed below:
|Country of origin||Number of irregular migrants|
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.
A 2016 refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean by cracking down on human traffickers and improving the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Some migrants who came by foot lost their lives during the "journey of hope," and others were rescued by security forces on the way to Europe.