The security forces of Turkey have taken up around 3,000 illegal migrants within a week, according to the official figures. In the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne alone, which borders Greece and Bulgaria, they would have held around 1,600 people, the state news agency Anadolu reported, citing security circles on Monday.
Other migrants were picked up in cities such as Mugla, Canakkale and Izmir in west of the country. Among them are Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians and people from different African countries.
Turkey has received millions of refugees from neighboring Syria since the beginning of the civil war. In Turkey they are under “temporary protection”. However, the government plans to move many to a controversial security zone in northern Syria.
“Turkey is also a transit country for refugees from other countries who want to enter the EU”
On Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of a new wave of migration to Europe in the face of heavy air strikes in northern Syria. The bombings drove more than 80,000 people out of the Idlib province and on their way to the Turkish border. His country will not be able to shoulder this influx alone, and “all European countries, especially Greece, will feel the negative consequences”, said Erdogan.
Turkey is also a transit country for refugees from other countries who want to enter the EU. Afghans are a large group. The west Turkish coast is a stepping stone for migrants heading for the EU, for example they cross over to Greek islands.
The EU-Turkey refugee pact concluded in March 2016 stipulates that the EU can send back all migrants who come illegally via Turkey to the Greek islands. In return, EU countries take Turkey’s vulnerable refugees from Syria and finance aid for refugees living in Turkish land.
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