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Turkey Intensifies Crackdown on Illegal Migrants in Istanbul

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    Turkey Intensifies Crackdown on Illegal Migrants in Istanbul

    The Interior Ministry in Istanbul has ramped up its monitoring of illegal migrants, with Minister Ali Yerlikaya revealing plans to nearly double the number of checkpoints across the city. Yerlikaya, speaking at a press conference on Feb. 27, highlighted that security forces will now conduct inspections at over 100 points in the bustling metropolis, which is home to more than 15 million people and is estimated to host the largest migrant population in Turkey.

    Detailing the inspection process, Yerlikaya explained that each migration inspection vehicle is equipped with an interpreter and a migration expert to facilitate fingerprint checks on suspected illegal migrants. The database is then searched for documents related to the foreigner's residency permits.

    Highlighting the effectiveness of the extensive vehicle inspections in identifying irregular migrants, the minister stated that since the initiative's launch on July 19, 2023, approximately 60,000 migrants have been detained and sent to deportation centers.

    Yerlikaya also outlined the four-phase plan followed by Turkish authorities in their fight against irregular migration, emphasizing proactive measures to address the issue before migrants enter the country, robust border security, efficient detection and apprehension within the country, and expedited deportation processes. He emphasized that these efforts are conducted in alignment with civilization and humanitarian values, without compromising public order and security.

    Providing updates on combating irregular migration and human traffickers, Yerlikaya shared that between June 1, 2023, and Feb. 23, more than 490 operations targeting human smugglers resulted in the apprehension of nearly 80 suspects, with 201 arrests made.

    Recent data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) suggests that Istanbul's population has decreased for the second time in modern Turkey’s history. Many demographic experts attribute this decline, in part, to the significant presence of illegal migrants within the city.

    I recommend having your passport or Kimlik card always on you.​