Turkey has a lot of ground to cover on refugee adaptation, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Tuesday, reports Anadolu Agency.
He told a Chamber of Shipping meeting in Istanbul that 4,500 irregular migrants were removed from Istanbul last year.
“Now we are going to send 50,000 irregular migrants,” he said, adding that Turkey would not allow the city to become an “illegal immigrant centre”.
Refugees from Syria have flooded Istanbul since a civil war erupted there in early 2011 when the Bashar Al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed since then and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross to Europe, especially since the beginning of the war in Syria.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.
The migrants were mostly Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraq.