Turkish authorities have deported a total of 6,846 undocumented Afghan migrants back to Kabul in recent weeks, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on April 16, basing the figure on a written statement from the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Migration Management.
The directorate said the migrants were deported from the eastern provinces of Erzurum, Ağrı, and the western province of İzmir on nine charter flights, as well as additional scheduled flights following the completion of deportation procedures.
The undocumented migrants were reported to have entered Turkey through Iran via illegal means and were mostly captured in Erzurum.
More migrants will be deported to Afghanistan through an additional four charter flights in the upcoming days, the directorate said.
Turkey is a common transit country for migrants trying to reach Europe. Turkey accelerated the deportation process on April 8, following reports that nearly 20,000 undocumented Afghan migrants have arrived in the country over the past three months, an unprecedented number.
The first group of Afghan migrants, consisting of more than 200 people, left Erzurum on April 8 on a charter flight bound for Kabul, with reports following that a total of 3,000 were planned to be deported from Erzurum alone.
The Interior Ministry on April 7 said the Afghan migrants had crossed into Turkey through Iran due to “ongoing terrorist activities and economic troubles” in Afghanistan and security forces had handed the migrants over to provincial immigration authorities
“Following the completion of deportation procedures for illegal migrants in our other provinces, deportations will speed up and continue in the coming days,” the ministry said in a statement.
During an official visit to Kabul on April 8, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the Interior Ministry was conducting a productive plan to stop the inflow of illegal Afghan migrants.