Duvar English

Illegal crossings into Turkey from Iran might exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, a Van lawmaker and human rights activist told Duvar.

Turkey halted all travel between the two countries February 23, but main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mehmet Kurukcu, from the southeastern province of Van, said that he suspects crossings are continuing. 

Kurukcu noted that three districts in Van border Iran directly, one of them home to the Kapıköy Border Gate. 

“If they don’t prevent illegal crossings from Iran, it will cause a major threat to our province and our country. We need many more preventative measures, and urgently,” said Kurukcu. 

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Human Rights Association Van Chair, Murat Melet, noted that any illegal crossings into Turkey involve dangerous journeys for the migrants.

Crossings are still ongoing, Melet said, because human traffickers continue to prioritize financial gain over health.

“They need to start placing incoming migrants under quarantine and inform the residents of border villages,” Melet said. 

Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with over 1,800 deaths and 23,049 infected people. One person is dying from the virus every 10 minutes, according to the health ministry.