Nearly 130 irregular migrants held across Turkey

By Ozkan Bilgin, Cihan Demirci, Huseyin Demirci and Ilker Gurel

VAN / KARS / EDIRNE, Turkey (AA) – Turkish security forces held 129 irregular migrants across Turkey on Saturday.

In the eastern province of Van, Turkish security forces held 57 irregular migrants, the provincial police headquarters said.

The migrants were found during police traffic checks. Fifty Afghans, one Iranian, and six Pakistanis were sent to the immigration office.

One suspect, believed to have organized human trafficking, was arrested.

Meanwhile, in the northeastern province of Kars, eight irregular migrants were held.

Security sources told Anadolu Agency that Turkish gendarmes stopped a taxi and held eight Afghan citizens.

The taxi driver was arrested.

In the northwestern province of Edirne, 40 irregular migrants planning to go abroad were held.

Gendarme sources told Anadolu Agency that they held 40 irregular migrants from Palestine and Syria who were in vehicles.

One inflatable boat was seized, and the migrants were taken to the Edirne migration office.

Five drivers were arrested.

Separately, 24 irregular migrants from Pakistan were caught after a traffic accident.

Police sources said that a minibus from Istanbul hit the guardrails after the driver lost control.

Ambulances and police units were dispatched to the scene.

Twenty-four irregular migrants were sent to the Edirne migration office.

The driver of the vehicle was arrested but later released under judicial control.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011 when the Syrian civil war began.