Over 100 irregular migrants held in Turkey

By Ozgun Tiran and Fecri Barlik

KIRKLARELI/SIIRT, Turkey (AA) – At least 115 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Monday.

In the northwestern Kirklareli province, 65 people — including Afghan, Pakistani and Iranian nationals — were held near the Derekoy border gate, as well as in the districts of Demirkoy and Kofcaz.

Separately, 50 migrants were held in a bus during a security check on a highway in eastern Siirt province.

The security forces were tipped off that the migrants would be smuggled from Bitlis province to Diyarbakir.

The majority of the migrants were Afghan nationals, while the others were Pakistani and Iraqi.

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

Among the 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.