Turkey detains over 17,000 migrants for deportation in one week

Turkey detains over 17,000 migrants for deportation in one week
Turkey has detained more than 17,000 migrants in Istanbul and handed them over to the province's migration department for deportation, as part of their 'efforts to combat irregular migration'
2 min read
18 May, 2022
Security forces have detained 17,116 migrants in Istanbul [Getty]

Turkey detained 17,116 migrants in Istanbul during the past week, according to the office of the Governor of Istanbul.

The detainees were handed over to the province’s migration department for deportation, as part of the country’s “efforts to combat irregular migration”, the governorship said in a statement on Tuesday.

Turkish security services have recently cracked down on irregular immigration across the country's major provinces, including Istanbul, amid increasing anti-refugee sentiment throughout the country, Syria TV reported.

"17,116 irregular migrants caught in our province by our security forces in the last week were handed over to our Provincial Directorate of Migration Management for deportation," the Istanbul governor's office said.

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Some 377 irregular migrants from Afghanistan were returned to their country on Monday night after being transferred to removal centres, the governor's office added.

An additional 183 “irregular migrants… who’s procedures [had] been completed” were also due to be deported from Istanbul Airport on Tuesday evening, according to the governor's office.

The New Arab contacted them for comment, but received no response at the time of publication.

The Istanbul mayoral election in 2019 was accompanied by a wave of racism – including numerous attacks on Syrians – as populist candidates scapegoated refugees for problems. 

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey since the deadly Syrian conflict began in 2011.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, over 68,000 Ukrainians have also taken refuge in Turkey, as the UNHCR Turkey representative Philippe Leclerc said the agency was dealing with an “ever-rising number of refugees” as part of the “tragedy”.