At least 11 irregular migrants were held in northwestern Turkey, near the Bulgarian border, security sources said Sunday.
Acting on a tip off, gendarmerie forces held irregular migrants – nationals of Palestine and Syria – in the Demirciköy district of Kırklareli province.
After routine procedures, they were transferred to a repatriation center.
Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants aiming to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives. Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. Ankara has also accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to what it says is a blatant abuse of human rights.
Turkish migration authorities last month placed signboards in six different languages along the Meriç (Evros) River, which marks the Turkish-Greek border, for irregular migrants. Billboards in Turkish, English, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Bengali show the nearest residential facility for migrants lost along the route and feature the number of a hotline designated to assisting migrants.
In March 2016, Ankara and Brussels signed an agreement to reduce the number of migrants taking the dangerous Aegean Sea route to Europe and to find a solution for the influx of refugees heading to EU countries.
According to the deal, Turkey was promised a total of 6 billion euros ($6.77 billion) in financial aid, which was initially designed to be given to the country in two stages and to be used by the Turkish government to finance projects for Syrian refugees. Visa freedom for Turkish citizens was also a perk of the agreement. In addition, the customs union between Turkey and the EU was to be updated.
In exchange for these promises, Turkey took responsibility for discouraging migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of Syrian refugees living in Turkey. Despite significant developments controlling migration traffic, the EU has not fully delivered on its commitments stated in the deal.