By Salih Baran
EDIRNE, Turkey (AA) – Turkish security forces have held over 59,000 irregular migrants in northwestern Edirne in 2018, a border province to Greece and Bulgaria.
The 10-month figure is estimated to exceed 70,000 by year-end.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants flee from civil conflict or economic hardship in their home countries in hopes of reaching Europe.
While some are able to make the perilous journey over land or sea via human smugglers, many are held by security forces before crossing the border to Europe.
Edirne — neighboring the two EU member states Greece and Bulgaria — is a prime migrant route with tens of thousands caught every year.
Out of over 222,000 total migrants held in Turkey in the first 10 months of 2018, a growing proportion of migrants is being held in the city.
Year Irregular migrants held in Edirne
2018 (Until Nov.) 59,675
The data by Turkey’s Directorate General of Migration Management revealed that most of the migrants come from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The numbers increase in late summer and autumn before dropping in the winter months, according to the data.
The migrants — nabbed by security forces — are taken to the provincial migration offices where they are identified and officially registered.
They are provided with accommodation including three daily meals until they are ready to voluntarily return to their home countries. The travel arrangements are made by the migration office.