At least 6,664 illegal migrants have been held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency (AA) from security sources. A total of 4,365 migrants were held in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne province bordering Greece and Bulgaria.
According to local security forces in Edirne, Greece has recently stepped up efforts to send illegal migrants to Turkey in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the European Convention on Human Rights and the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
In the coastal provinces of Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Aydın, İzmir and Muğla, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 2,025 migrants as they were trying to cross to Europe by sea.
Turkey has been a key transit point for illegal 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, a total of 120 migrants were held by gendarmerie forces.
Moreover, border forces and police in the southern Hatay province caught 41 migrants for reportedly entering Turkey from Syria through illegal means.
In eastern Erzincan province, provincial gendarmerie forces detained 54 migrants who had entered Turkey illegally.
Additionally, some 39 illegal migrants were also held by police in the eastern province of Erzurum, while in the Black Sea province of Samsun a total of 20 migrants were held by police over the past week.
The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Tunisian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Turkmenistani, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Indian, Algerian, Somali, Ghanian, Yemeni, Palestinian, Eritrean and Nigerian nationals.
All of the migrants held during the week were either taken to hospitals for medical care or transferred to provincial migration offices.
In 2018, some 268,000 illegal migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry. Turkey has been a key transit point for illegal migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives, particularly those fleeing conflict and persecution.