KIRKLARELI, Turkey 

Fourteen asylum seekers were held by Turkish gendarmerie forces in Turkey’s northwestern province of Kirklareli, which borders Bulgaria, the security sources said on Saturday.

The asylum seekers — Afghan, Egyptian, and Syrian nationals — were held as they entered the country through illegal means.

Following health checks at a local state hospital, they were referred to the provincial Gendarmerie Command, and later transferred to the local repatriation center.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

The country hosts nearly 4 million refugees, including over 3.6 million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara.

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