UPDATE – Nearly 400 irregular migrants held across Turkey


By Zafer Tayfur and Hakan Mehmet Sahin

VAN, Turkey (AA) – At least 396 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Friday.

In Baskale district of eastern Van province, 118 migrants, including children were caught by local gendarmerie forces, the sources said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

The migrants were nationals of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the sources added.

Separately in northwestern Kirklareli province, security forces held 37 people attempting to illegally cross to Europe.

The arrests of the Iraqi, Palestinian, Afghan and Pakistani nationals came in Babaeski and Kofcaz districts of Kirklareli, as well as close to Derekoy Crossing Border near Bulgaria.

The Turkish Coast Guards also identified a group of 43 people sailing in a rubber boat off the coast of western Aydin province’s Tekagac Cape, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

During patrols carried out in Turkey's south Aegean region, Coast Guard teams held 13 Afghan nationals, 9 Iraqi, 6 Palestinian and 15 Syrians.

In Ayvacik district of northwestern province of Canakkale, gendarmerie units held 37 irregular migrants, the sources said.

The migrants, including women and children, were from Afghanistan, the sources added.

Also in eastern Elazig province, local gendarmerie units have held 22 migrants after stopping a van during regular patrol at Elazig-Diyarbakir road, according to another security source.

The source added among the migrants were Afghans and Pakistani nationals.

In northwestern Edirne province, a total of 129 migrants of Somali, Pakistani, Afghan, Algerian, Libyan, Tunisian and Iraqi nationals, were held during patrols of gendarmerie forces.

Another 10 Syrians were caught when they were about to sail off Bodrum district of southern Mugla province.

All of the migrants were referred to the provincial migration offices.

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