9 die as migrant boat sinks off Turkey’s Aegean coast

Via Hurriyet Daily News / Anadolu Agency – Nine people died early on Aug. 9 when a boat carrying 13 migrants sank off the western coast of Turkey, the Turkish coast guard said. Four people were rescued.

The boat sank off the coast of Aydın province, near Kuşadası, a popular tourist destination, it said. Kuşadası district governor Muammer Aksoy said seven children and two women were identified as casualties with no one missing.

In 2015, Turkey became one of the main launch points for more than a million migrantstaking the sea route to the European Union, many fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

A 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union sharply reduced the flow, after hundreds died crossing to Greek islands a few miles off the Turkish shore.

Mediterranean arrivals to the bloc, including refugees making the longer and more perilous crossing from north Africa to Italy, were 172,301 in 2017, down from 362,753 in 2016 and 1,015,078 in 2015, according to U.N. data.

Up until Tuesday, 54 people described by the Turkish coast guard as “irregular migrants” died this year in the sea off Turkey, according to the coast guard’s website.

This article was first published by Hurriyet Daily News