Over 1,000 undocumented migrants held in Turkey

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By Muhammed Ali Toruntay, Volkan Gunduz and Oktay Bayar

ANKARA

At least 1,023 undocumented migrants were held across Turkey on Monday, according to a security source.

In a statement posted on its official website, Turkish General Staff said security forces have rounded up 938 people as they attempted to illegally cross into Turkey via borders with Syria on Monday.

Also, 38 people were held when they attempted to cross into Europe via borders with Greece and Bulgaria, and one other was nabbed while trying to cross into Turkey from Greece, it said.

Separately, in the Aegean province of Izmir, 37 undocumented migrants, mostly from central Africa, were held by security forces in a vehicle stopped in Aliaga district, according to security sources.

The migrants were transferred to the migration management authorities, said a source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In a separate operation in the southeastern Bitlis province’s Ahlat district, 9 undocumented migrants from Afghanistan who illegally crossed into Turkey were rounded up, said another security official.

Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.

Among migrants held in 2017 in Turkey, the majority came from Pakistan — around 15,000 — followed by Afghans at around 12,000. Syrians totaled about 10,000.

There has been a 60 percent increase in migrant flow since 2016. The number was 31,000 in 2016.






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