Turkey holds nearly 4,000 irregular migrants past week

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At least 3,893 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.

Turkish gendarmerie forces held 2,489 of the migrants in the northwestern province of Edirne, which borders Greece and Bulgaria.

According to local sources in Edirne, Greece has 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 cities of Muğla, Çanakkale, Izmir, Bodrum, Antalya and Aydın, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up over 1,000 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.

Separately, in the northwestern provinces of Kırklareli and Tekirdağ, 164 migrants were held by gendarmerie forces.

Moreover, border forces and provincial gendarmerie forces in southern Hatay province caught 109 migrants for trying to enter Turkey from Syria by illegal means.

The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, Moroccan, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Somalian, Yemeni,

Palestinian, Malian, Gabonese, Senegalese, Burundian, Cameroonian, Angolan, Libyan, Lebanese South African nationals.

All of the migrants held during the week were either taken to hospitals for medical treatment or transferred to provincial migration offices.

In 2018, some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry.

Some 336,707 irregular migrants have been held in 2019 so far, said Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

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