TEKIRDAG, Turkey 

Turkish police caught 15 asylum seekers in the northwestern province of Tekirdag, a local authority said Friday.

The anti-smuggling teams of local police stopped a light commercial vehicle during a regular check at the entrance of the Suleymanpasa district.

During the search in the vehicle with a standard capacity of 5 passengers, 15 asylum seekers with Syrian and Egyptian nationalities were arrested. They were found to have entered Turkey illegally searching for a gate to Europe.

Asylum seekers were referred to local migration authorities. The driver of the vehicle was detained.

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

* Written by Ahmet Gencturk in Ankara

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