At least 1,594 illegal migrants were caught across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency (AA) from security sources. As many as 913 migrants were arrested in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne, Kırklareli and Tekirdağ provinces, 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, European Convention on Human Rights and the U.N. Convention Against Torture. On Monday, Turkish media outlets reported that an illegal migrant forced to cross the Meriç River between Turkey and Greece drowned while another migrant suffering from hypothermia was found on the border, allegedly after being pushed back to the Turkish side by Greek soldiers. The surviving migrant was taken to a hospital in the Turkish border province of Edirne.
In the coastal western cities of Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Aydın and Izmir, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 512 migrants as they were trying to cross to Europe through Greece. Moreover, some 23 migrants were also held by police in the capital Ankara. A total of 17 illegal migrants were caught in the southern Mersin province.
In 2019, more than 454,500 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, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
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