Turkish forces held 40 irregular migrants in eastern Van province, authorities said Sunday.
Gendarmerie officers at a checkpoint attempted to stop a suspicious vehicle that was on its way to the Saray district, the governor's office said in a statement.
The driver of the vehicle did not comply with their "stop" command and the tires of the vehicle were blown out, it said.
The vehicle was subsequently found to be used in migrant smuggling and there were 40 irregular immigrants in it, it added.
"In the incident, one migrant unfortunately lost his life from the ricocheting bullets, and 12 irregular immigrants were slightly injured," it added.
The search continues for the migrant smuggler and the driver of the vehicle, who fled after the incident, it noted.
Faced with a potential migrant wave due to the instability in Afghanistan, Turkey has recently maximized measures on its eastern border. Turkey is continuing efforts to bolster the security of its border with Iran to prevent any new influx of migrants. The beefed-up border measures in Turkey, which already hosts nearly 4 million Syrian refugees and is a staging post for many migrants trying to reach Europe, began as the Taliban started advancing in Afghanistan and took over Kabul.
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum-seekers attempting to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution. Concerns have risen over a possible spike in migrants from Afghanistan, due to the United States' pullout from the country and the following surge of Taliban attacks. Turkey has made it clear that it will not bear the burden of the migration crises experienced as a result of the decisions of third countries.
Turkey hosts nearly 4 million refugees – more than any country in the world. After the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, Turkey adopted an “open-door policy” for people fleeing the conflict, granting them temporary protection status. Afghans are believed to be the second-largest refugee community in Turkey after Syrians. Many of the migrants arriving via Iran are heading for Istanbul to find work or passage to another coastal city from which to embark for Europe.