CORRECTION – Refugees opt for illegal road routes to Europe via Turkey

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Number of people trying to illegally travel by road to Europe from Turkey increased by almost 12 percent in 2015, official data suggests

CORRECTS “PERCENT” TO “TIMES” IN THE LEDE

EDIRNE, Turkey – The number of people trying to illegally travel by road to Europe from Turkey increased by almost 12 percent in 2015, official data suggests.

A total of 1,905 people were captured by customs officers last year in the northwestern province of Edirne, bordering Greece and Bulgaria, according to data provided by the provincial Customs and Trade Regional Directorate.

The vast majority of these people were held at the Kapikule border crossing point; linking the country to Bulgaria, the figures reveal.

Customs officers found 1,711 people in the trailers of trucks stopped at Kapikule, while 122 were held at Hamzabeyli, 57 at Ipsala and 15 at Derekoy border gates.

The data suggests that the number of such refugees increased by more than twice compared with the previous year, and by almost 12 times compared with two years before.

A total of 835 people were caught in 2014, while only 159 people were captured in 2013.

Edirne gendarmerie has set up special teams to catch people smugglers.

Since the beginning of this year, 56 people have been detained by the gendarmerie teams, with 35 of them being remanded into custody.

A total of 23 people were caught during the same period in 2014 and 2015. Four of them were remanded into custody.

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