10 arrested in Hatay for human smuggling, including former soldier

The police conducted a three-month investigation after receiving a tip-off that a gang was engaging in human smuggling in Yayladag, bringing Syrians to Turkey in exchange for large amounts of money. The financial crimes unit launched simultaneous operations on Friday in the Guvecci, Gorentas and Uluyol neighborhoods of Yayladag against the group. TL 40,000 was found at the house of one of the suspects during the operations.

Fifteen suspects were detained as part of the operation and were referred to a local court after police interrogation. From this 15, one former soldier and nine others were arrested. The remaining five were released under judicial supervision.

While speaking to the press on Saturday at the Yayladagı Teachers Guesthouse, the governor of Hatay, Ercan Topaca, said the groups engaged in human smuggling are operating more actively in the Guvecci neighborhood where there is no border gate.

Saying that human smuggling is a serious crime under international human rights law, Topaca said: “We cannot allow this human smuggling. The operations are not targeting the people who have fled to Turkey because of the recent attacks in the Turkmen region of Bayırbucak, across the border from Yayladag. [Rather, the operations] are against the [illegal] groups who transport people to [Turkey] from further away in exchange for money.