ANKARA, July 18 (Reuters) – Turkish authorities have detained 133 undocumented migrants, mostly Afghans, near its southern border with Iran in the past two days, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials said on Sunday. Interior, in a context of growing violence in Afghanistan.
Authorities arrested 73 Afghans on Saturday in the eastern province of Van, while 60 other migrants, including 59 Afghans, were arrested in the Ercis district of Van on Sunday, officials said.
Concerns about a potential new influx of migrants to Turkey from Afghanistan have increased in recent weeks, as violence between the Afghan government and the Taliban has escalated as US and NATO forces pull out.
The UN refugee agency estimates that 270,000 Afghans have been internally displaced since January, bringing the number of people forced to leave their homes to more than 3.5 million.
Last month, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran met at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum (ADF) in southern Turkey to discuss security cooperation, energy and migration.
Turkish diplomatic sources said there is no specific mechanism between Ankara and Tehran to handle migration from Afghanistan although Turkey is a main destination, but border security measures are generally in place along the borders.
Turkey hosts over 4 million refugees, the vast majority from Syria, and is the world’s leading refugee host country. (Report by Yesim Dikmen and Tuvan Gumrukcu edited by Frances Kerry)
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.