Middle EastSyriaTurkey

11 refugees, including children, drown off Turkey’s coast

Eleven asylum seekers, including eight children, have died after their boat capsized off Turkey’s western coast.

Turkish state Anadolu news agency said on Saturday that the 11 asylum seekers died on Saturday when their vessel sank in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey. Eight others were rescued from the sea near the town of Cesme, on the Aegean coast, it said.

The nationalities of the victims were not immediately known.

The incident came just hours after another boat sank in the Aegean near the Greek island of Paxi, leaving at least 12 dead.

Turkey has taken in around four million asylum seekers, the majority of them from Syria. The country is one of the main transit routes for those fleeing conflicts in the Middle East who aim to reach Europe largely via Greece.

In an unprecedented refugee influx, over one million refugees arrived in the European Union (EU) countries in 2015.

An agreement reached in March 2016 between Ankara and the EU succeeded in considerably reducing the number of the people arriving in Europe as Turkey agreed to settle them. Last year, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to “open the gates” again if the US and the EU refused to aid Ankara resettle the Syrian refugees in their own country.

Back to top button