Turkish authorities detained 164 migrants and refugees – most of them Afghans – after they irregularly crossed the border with Iran between Monday and Tuesday. Turkey has repeatedly signalled that it is does not want to host more Afghan refugees.
The migrants and refugees were intercepted in the provinces of Ardahan, Bitlis, and Van after they entered the country from Iran irregularly, according to the Turkish newspaper Sabah. They were later transferred to detention centers.
A total of 11 people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in human trafficking.
Afghan refugees in Turkey
Over the past few months, the number of Afghan citizens headed to Turkey from Iran has risen significantly, following the Taliban takeover in August.
The Turkish government has repeatedly signalled that it does not want to host more Afghans fleeing their home country. Turkey recently started constructing a concrete wall on the Iran border and human rights groups have accused Turkish border officials of violently pushing back migrants.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would not "open our doors" to more Afghan refugees during the G20 meeting in Rome over the weekend, noting that there are already about 300,000 Afghan refugees in the country.
Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu recently said that two million Afghans in Iran are "ready to move" and that about 2,000 Afghan nationals entered Turkey from Iran per day.
258 asylum seekers rescued in Aegean Sea
Meanwhile, 258 asylum seekers were rescued between Monday and Tuesday by the Turkish Coast Guard after alleged pushbacks by the Greek Navy in the Aegean Sea, according to Sabah reports.
The migrants were reportedly mostly Syrian nationals and were taken to a reception center on the Turkish coast in the Izmir and Mugla provinces.