Turkey has apprehended almost 3,250 undocumented migrants who were seeking to cross through the country into the European Union over the past week, the Anadolu news agency reported on Monday, citing security sources.
According to Turkish security sources, more than 1,480 migrants were detained in the northwestern provinces of Edirne, Kirklareli and Tekirdag. A further 1,600 EU-bound migrants were detained in the coastal cities of Mugla, Canakkale, Izmir, Balikesir and Aydin, the agency stated.
Additionally, approximately 140 migrants were detained in Turkey’s eastern and southern regions, most notably Kilis and Hatay provinces, which border Syria, the outlet said.
Interior Ministry statistics indicate that the number of apprehensions through the calendar year so far has already eclipsed last year’s number. In 2018, a total of 268,000 irregular migrants were detained in Turkey. Through 2019 so far, this number has already reached 337,000, the news agency reported, citing Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
At the MED 2019 forum, held in Rome last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that Turkey was looking at options to facilitate the return of migrants from Syria. According to UN figures, there are currently 3.6 million Syrians who have fled the war-torn country into Turkey.
In 2016, Turkey signed a landmark 6 billion euro ($6.6 billion) deal with the European Union to help curb the Europe-bound migrant flow. Turkey agreed to accept the return of all migrants not deemed to be in need of international help, and agreed to accept the return of migrants who had arrived in other EU states.