Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 47,113 migrants have departed Turkey via its northwestern border province of Edirne.

Migrants camp as they await to cross the border at Turkey's Pazarkule with Greece's Kastanies, in Edirne, Turkey on February 29, 2020.
Migrants camp as they await to cross the border at Turkey's Pazarkule with Greece's Kastanies, in Edirne, Turkey on February 29, 2020. (Reuters)

The number of migrants leaving Turkey via its northwestern border province of Edirne reached 47,113, the country's interior minister said on Saturday.

Suleyman Soylu has tweeted that the number was registered as of 23:50 local time (20:50 GMT).

Turkish officials announced on Friday that they would no longer try to stop irregular migrants from reaching Europe.

The decision was made after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in a regime strike in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib. Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under the September 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.

Since then, thousands of irregular migrants have flocked to Edirne to make their way into Europe.

Turkey already hosts some 3.7 million migrants from Syria alone, more than any other country in the world.

It has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises to help migrants and stem further migrant waves. 

Meanwhile the UN said in a statement that its staff had observed "at least 13,000 people gathered along the 212-kilometre (125-mile) long border.

Bulgaria monitors Turkish border for migrants

The Bulgarian military carried out aerial inspections of its border with Turkey on Saturday.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov discussed the migrant situation by telephone with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, following recent events in Syria.

The two leaders agreed to meet on Monday, the Bulgarian government said, adding that during the telephone call it had been clarified that "there is currently no direct threat to Bulgaria".

Borissov told Erdogan that he would inform EU leaders of the conversation and call on the bloc to make greater efforts towards a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Turkey cannot handle another refugee influx

Erdogan warned on Saturday that Turkey can’t handle a new wave of migration as nearly 950,000 displaced civilians have been pushed toward the Syrian-Turkish border amid cold winter weather.

Erdogan said Turkey would not stand in the way of refugees and migrants already in the country who hope to head to Europe.

“We will not close the gates to refugees,” he said. “The European Union has to keep its promises. We are not obliged to look after and feed so many refugees."

Under a 6 billion euro deal in 2016, Turkey agreed to stem the tide of refugees to Europe in return for financial aid after more than a million people entered Europe in 2015. It has since accused the EU of failing to honour the agreement. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies