Turkish security forces caught over 59,675 irregular migrants in the northwestern province of Edirne on the border with Greece and Bulgaria.
The 10-month figure is expected to exceed 70,000 by year-end. Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants flee from civil conflict or economic hardship in their home countries in hope of reaching Europe. While some are able to make the perilous journey over land or sea via human smugglers, many are held by security forces before crossing the border to Europe. Edirne is a prime migrant route, with tens of thousands caught every year. Out of over 222,000 total migrants held in Turkey in the first 10 months of 2018, a growing proportion of migrants are being held in the city.
Authorities caught 21,953 migrants in 2015, with figures rising to 29,670 in 2016 and 47,731 last year. The data by Turkey's Directorate General of Migration Management revealed that most of the migrants come from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The numbers increase in late summer and autumn before dropping in the winter months, according to the data. The migrants are taken to provincial migration offices where they are identified and officially registered. They are provided with accommodation, including three daily meals, until they are ready to voluntarily return to their home countries. The travel arrangements are made by the migration office.