Over 220 irregular migrants held across Turkey

By Cihan Demirci, Halife Yalcinkaya

SIVAS, Turkey (AA) – At least 225 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Thursday.

In the northwestern province of Edirne, 198 migrants — Somali, Palestinian, Syrian, Pakistani, Algerian, Iraqi, and Iranian nationals — were rounded up during regular patrols by gendarmerie units in the villages of Bosnakoy and Yenikadin and the districts of Uzunkopru, Ipsala, and Meric, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media.

The migrants were trying to illegally cross the Turkish border, the sources said.

Moreover, eight Afghan nationals, including women and children, were rounded up in a vehicle in the central Sivas province.

The migrants illegally entered Turkey from Iran, and the driver of the vehicle was arrested for alleged human smuggling, the sources added.

Separately, in the central Kirsehir province, 19 more Afghan nationals, including four children, were held in a bus with fake identity cards in their possession.

The bus driver was arrested for human trafficking.

All the migrants were later referred to provincial migration authorities.

Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, the beginning of Syria's civil war.

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

*Serkan Guner and Abdullah Yildiz from Kirsehir contributed to this story.