Middle East

Turkiye prevented 600,000 migrants from entering country since 2021, report says

Turkish authorities have prevented the entry of around 600,000 illegal migrants since 2021, as it continues to step up the defence of its eastern and southern borders.

According to the Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, which cited official statistics, 451,096 irregular migrants were prevented from entering the country last year, followed by 127,256 more being prevented this year as of 14 April 2022.

Turkey has been one of the main country which has been welcoming Syrian refugees –
Cartoon [MiddleEastMonitor]

That puts the number of migrants prevented since 2021 at over 578,000, along with additional numbers such as 19,336 Syrians deported for security reasons since 2016, and over 320,000 foreign migrants altogether having been deported since that same year.

While many of those deported have been Syrians, a vast majority of migrants and asylum seekers prevented from entering Turkiye are Afghans, who have attempted to cross Turkiye to reach Europe over the past year since and prior to the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

Anti-refugee and migrant sentiment has long brewed amongst much of Turkish society over the past decade, as the country has been the main focal point for Syrians and others fleeing to Europe, but concern truly sets in when citizens witnessed large waves of irregular Afghan migrants crossing towns in eastern Turkiye while attempting to avoid capture by authorities.

Since then, Ankara has stepped up its efforts to physically secure its borders, especially those to the east bordering Iran and south bordering Syria and Iraq.

So far, for example, the government has constructed along those borders patrol roads, communication towers and hundreds of kilometres of lighting and energy transmission lines. 191 kilometres of a security wall and patrol road – as well as camera and thermal sensors – has also been constructed along the border with Iran, and a security wall now covers 873 kilometres of the Syrian border.

In September last year, Turkey’s Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, announced that the government prevented the entry of 1.25 million illegal immigrants to the country over the three years prior.

READ: Turkey strengthens border defences to prevent influx of Afghanistan immigrants

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