Sunday 25 September 2016

Turkey tightens controls on EU-bound migrants

Rachael English in Ankara

Published 01/12/2015 | 02:30

A migrant holds his daughter as they wait to enter the camp after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija, on November 30, 2015
A migrant holds his daughter as they wait to enter the camp after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija, on November 30, 2015

Authorities in northwest Turkey rounded up some 1,300 asylum seekers and migrants allegedly preparing to make their way into Greece, Turkey's state-run news agency reported.

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Some 750 migrants were detained yesterday in a pre-dawn sweep in the town of Ayvacik, in Canakkale province, which is a main crossing point to the Greek island of Lesbos.

By the afternoon, authorities had detained 550 more people, some of whom were trying to hide in olive groves.

The move came a day after Turkey and EU leaders sealed a joint summit with a commitment to re-energise Turkey's long-stalled membership bid and bolster their resolve to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

It was not clear if yesterday's sweep was directly related to the Turkish commitment to help contain the flow of migrants and officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The migrants were from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, the reports said.

Four suspected smugglers were also detained in the sweep, while four migrant boats and six boat motors were seized.

Overcrowded

The migrants were put into buses and taken to a small, overcrowded detention centre for foreigners awaiting deportation, the news agency said.

During the sweep, authorities also discovered a body which had washed up on the shore, suspected to be that of a migrant.

Irish Independent

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