Turkey’s Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli has announced that a total of 33,465 undocumented migrants and 612 human smugglers were detained in Turkey in June.
A total of 33,465 undocumented migrants and 612 human smugglers were detained in Turkey in June, Hürriyet Daily News reported on Wednesday (July 6).
At least 4,659 of these migrants “were caught at sea,” the English-language news service of Turkey’s biggest daily newspaper reported, citing the country’s Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli during his monthly press conference held in Ankara on Monday (July 4).
According to the Turkish DHA news agency, Catakli also told reporters that the number of “Syrians returning to their country is 509,791, while the number of Syrians registered in Turkey as of today is 3,648,983.”
A communiqué by the Interior Ministry further specified that in June alone, 16,710 undocumented migrants had been deported from Turkey, bringing the total number of deportations in the first half of 2022 to 48,233.
Deputy Minister Catakli also reiterated that Syrian nationals living as refugees in Turkey would not be allowed to return to their country to celebrate the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
In addition to nearly 3.7 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey, there are also up to half a million Afghan migrants and refugees in the country, dpa reported. The number of Afghans coming to Turkey has been rising since the violent takeover of government by the Taliban in Afghanistan in August 2021.
Turkey’s eastern Van province is part of a commonly used route for migrants coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan, as it borders Iran directly. Human smugglers try to bring migrants and refugees over the border this way in order to then take them to large cities like Istanbul or Izmir.
Parts of Turkey’s border with Iran in Van province are now fortified with a wall; however, smugglers continue to find ways to being undocumented migrants into Turkey | Photo: Emrah Gurel/AP Photo/picture-alliance
Earlier this week, a four-year-old Afghan boy was killed in Van province when security forces fired shots at a vehicle carrying a group of migrants, according to Mehmet Karatas, chair of the Turkey-based Van Human Rights Association. Van’s provincial governor’s office meanwhile confirmed that one migrant was killed and 12 others injured, according to dpa.
According to authorities, officers had tried to stop a “suspicious vehicle” approaching a checkpoint.
Karatas, however, said two officers had fired “intensively” at the vehicle, prompting some of the migrants to flee. He called the incident a “breach of duty and a violation of the right to life,” and appealed for an independent probe.