The sweep came just hours after the EU and Turkey struck a deal under which EU agreed to provide Turkey billions to stem the migrant crisis.
ANKARA, (Turkey) — Authorities in northwestern Turkey on Monday rounded up some 1,300 asylum seekers and migrants allegedly preparing to make their way into Greece, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported.
Police detained some 750 migrants near the western town of Ayvacik, a main crossing point to Greece, according to the Anadolu news agency. By the afternoon, authorities had detained 550 more people, some of whom were trying to hide in olive groves.
People from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, were among the 1,300 detained the Turkish coastguard told the Reuters news agency on Monday.
The detainees were sent to a repatriation center, and some of them could face deportation, according to the authorities.
The Monday sweep is the largest anti-migrant operation in recent months, coming less than a day after the EU and Ankara agreed on a plan to control the migrant influx to Europe.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International slammed the reports of detentions, calling them “alarming but not surprising.”
“Ever since September, we have seen the Turkish authorities detaining scores of refugees, often completely incommunicado, and forcibly returning them to neighbouring Syria and Iraq. This is as illegal as it is unconscionable,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty’s Turkey researcher.
In the wake of this weekend’s EU-Turkey migration talks, it’s a stain on the EU’s conscience too.“
During the sweep, authorities also discovered a body which had washed up on the shore, suspected to be that of a migrant.