First aim to treat irregular migrant case in Istanbul: Soylu

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In an effort to respond to the demands of citizens over the migration issue, Turkey primarily will address the irregular migrant case, said the interior minister on July 6.

“Our primary goal will be to dwell on the irregular migrant issue, especially in the metropolitan cities, in Istanbul,” Süleyman Soylu told a migration evaluation meeting in Istanbul.

His ministry will also fight against illegal employment of the migrants, Soylu said.

He reiterated that they won’t allow Turkey to become a “center of irregular immigrants”.

Turkey, which has put a significant effort to handle the migration crisis since 2011, adopted new laws and established new institutions in an effort to solve the issue, he also said.

Irregular migrants in Istanbul

“Today, there are approximately 4.9 million foreigners in Turkey, 3.6 million of whom are Syrians under temporary protection,” Soylu said.

More than 546,000 Syrians are registered in Istanbul, he added.

Soylu said more than 28,000 foreign nationals were held in Istanbul last year, and nearly 11,300 of them were repatriated.

In the first six months of this year, meanwhile, some 25,000 irregular migrants were held, and almost 13,000 of them were deported, he added.

Istanbul, Soylu said, is an attraction center for irregular migrants as a key logistics center and transportation junction in the world.

However, he added: “Except in special cases, we do not register any Syrian in Istanbul.”

“It is our main responsibility to repatriate those reaching Turkey illegally,” Soylu underscored.

Terrorism triggers irregular migration

Stressing that there is an increasing pressure on Turkey over irregular migration, Soylu said the number of irregular migrants held annually between 2013-2018 increased by 572%, to reach 268,000 in 2018.

This hike in the figures was triggered by the intervention of the outlawed PKK and ISIL in the human smuggling, he stated.

Underlining that important projects have been carried out for the border security, Soylu said: “The project of building modern and illuminated border walls with cameras is still underway.”

Hurriyet Daily News

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