EYEAFRICA TV: Ankara, Turkey: Some 235,000 irregular migrants aiming to illegally cross to Europe were held across Turkey over the past eight months, a ministry said on Thursday.
The Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management said in a statement that the numbers of irregular migrants attempting to illegally cross to European countries via Turkey increased by 42% in the January-August period of 2019, compared to the same period of last year.
About 158,000 people were held while attempting to illegally cross to Europe in the first eight months of 2018, the statement noted.
According to the ministry, some 10,000 irregular migrants crossed to EU countries by land in the past eight months of last year. Thanks to measures taken by Turkish security forces against irregular migration, this figure decreased to 4,000 this year.
Meanwhile, most of the attempts of irregular migration occurred in the northwestern border province of Edirne where around 68,000 irregular migrants were held.
The number of irregular migrants held in Edirne by Turkish security forces has increased by 70% this year compared to the same period of last year.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.