Turkey’s new action plans only for illegal migration: Minister

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Turkey’s interior minister has said that Turkey’s new action plans for migration-related issues aim only at prevention of illegal migration.

“This issue only concerns irregular and illegal migration. It is out of the question and not acceptable for Syrian people who are under temporary protection, foreigners that are granted international protection status or people who have residence permits in our country to be deported,” said Soylu.

“We do not have the capability or right to do this. Nor do we have such a wish nor action,” he said.

Soylu made the comments on July 28 while holding a press conference after visiting the Kahramanmaraş Temporary Shelter Center in southern Turkey.

More than 165,000 irregular migrants have so far been detained in Turkey since the beginning of 2019, Soylu said. The number is expected to exceed 300,000 by the end of this year, Soylu said.

He added that 268,000 irregular migrants had been captured in Turkey in 2018.

Soylu once again underlined that those under temporary protection “must be settled” in cities where they were officially registered.

The Istanbul Governor’s Office previously announced that refugees who reside in Istanbul despite not being registered there will be referred to camps if they fail to leave the province by Aug. 20.

Reiterating the same issue on July 28, Soylu said: “A specific period of time has been given to Syrians. Since a specific time has been set, no process has been taken against them.”

Soylu said that registrations of refugees were not allowed in some provinces, including Istanbul, except for “humanitarian reasons” such as medical treatment or education.

“Because of this, if we determine unregistered Syrians are in Istanbul, as per our system, we initially take them to a camp and get them registered. Then we ask them which city they want to go to and send them. This is such an easy procedure.”

Over 2,200 migrants detained

Meanwhile, according to data compiled by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency from security sources, at least 2,244 irregular migrants were detained across Turkey over the past week.

As many as 838 migrants were caught in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne province, which borders Greece and Bulgaria.

In the northwestern provinces of Kırklareli and Tekirdağ, a total of 130 migrants were detained by gendarmerie forces.

In the eastern provinces of Van and Siirt, a total of 83 migrants were detained by police and gendarmerie forces over the past week.

In the coastal provinces of Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Aydın, İzmir, and Muğla, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 878 migrants as they were trying to cross to Europe through Greece.

Moreover, some 169 irregular migrants were also detained by police and gendarmerie forces in the southern province of Adana.

Separately, border forces in the southern province pf Adama caught 140 migrants for reportedly entering Turkey from Syria through illegal means.

A total of six migrants were detained by police in the central Anatolian province of Çankırı.

The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Senegalese, Central African, Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian, Somalian, Libyan, Togo, Cameroonian and Palestinian nationals.

All of the migrants detained during the week were either taken to hospital for medical care or transferred to provincial migration offices.

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.

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