More than 180 illegal immigrants nabbed in Turkey
Turkish security forces arrested 147 suspected illegal immigrants near the Iranian border Sunday, August 12, and 35 others in the western Izmir region who were preparing to leave the country, the Anatolia news agency said.
Acting on a tip-off, police raided a mountain village in the eastern province of Van, where they found 49 Iraqis without identity papers, the agency said. It said they later found 80 more Iraqis and 18 Iranians hiding in different places in the town of Van.
Turkey is used as a major transit route for Asian and African immigrants trying to reach Western Europe. Local officials say a current heat wave has led to an upsurge in the numbers crossing into Turkey, as it makes entering the country at night over the rough terrain less hazardous.
In the western Izmir region, tip-offs from local residents led police to stop a minibus carrying 35 illegal immigrants who were preparing to board a boat for Europe, Anatolia said.
Twenty-nine of those seized were from Pakistan and six were from Sierra Leone. The driver of the minibus had been arrested three times previously for transporting illegal immigrants, the agency said.
On Saturday, Turkish coastguards picked up 200 suspected illegal migrants from a ship stopped in the Gulf of Izmir in the Aegean Sea.
Anatolia said Sunday that a number of them jumped into the sea from the ship when it was taken to the shore, and that the police are now holding only 160 — four Iranians, two Iraqis and 154 Turks. ― (AFP, Istanbul)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)