Turkish officials held 1.2 million irregular migrants and over 27,000 human traffickers over the past five years, according to official data from the country’s Directorate General of Migration Management.
Connecting Europe and Asia, Turkey is a common route for irregular migrants en route to European countries.
Illegal migration has gained momentum due to domestic upheavals, economic crises and political uncertainty in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Iran as well as some others in the African continent.
In 2019, Turkish authorities held a record 454,662 irregular migrants across the country, with some 60,000 held while traversing the Mediterranean Sea.
More than 200,000 of these comprised of Afghan nations, while over 71,000 were from Pakistan. Syrians ranked third on the list with some 55,000 irregular migrants.
Besides, almost 9,000 human traffickers smuggling migrants across Turkey were caught during the year.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants had been held in Turkey in 2018, about 175,000 each in 2017 and 2016 and 146,000 in 2015. Roughly 28,000 human traffickers were caught by Turkish authorities in the past five years.