At least three migrants killed after boat capsizes in Edirne in Turkey’s northwest
At least three people were killed and four missing after a boat carrying eight undocumented migrants capsized in the River Meriç (Maritsa or Evros) in Turkey’s northwestern Edirne province on Feb. 12, a spokeswoman for Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Organization (AFAD) said on Feb. 14.
The eighth refugee managed to reach Greece, the organization said.
Rescue teams recovered three bodies, the AFAD said, adding that two of them were children - one around 12-years-old and the other around four. The causes of death have not yet been determined, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, one of the three was identified as a 37-year-old woman banned from leaving the country as she was suspended from her job as educator due to state of emergency decrees issued after the 2016 coup attempt, Doğan News Agency reported.
She was also using ByLock, an encrypted messaging application once widely used by the Fethullah Terror Organization (FETÖ), believed to have been behind the 2016 coup attempt, the agency reported.
The AFAD said teams were still searching for the four others on the boat but that cold temperatures and strong water currents were impeding operations.
On Feb. 13, at around 5:00 a.m., the boat went missing after a dinghy carrying the migrants capsized on the river that forms the border between Greece and Turkey.
Rescue teams were dispatched to the area after Turkish patrol units heard a woman shouting “save my child” in Turkish. Following the incident, soldiers notified AFAD units, who later found a dingy, believed to belong to the undocumented migrants, and some clothing items in the river.
In preliminary statements eyewitnesses told the authorities that the boat was carrying at least 10 people.
A 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union sharply reduced the flow of refugees into the European bloc, stopping many refugees from making the short but dangerous sea crossing from Turkey to Greek islands a few miles offshore.
Overall Mediterranean arrivals to the E.U., including refugees making the longer and more perilous crossing from North Africa to Italy, stood at 172,301 in 2017, down from 362,753 in 2016 and 1,015,078 in 2015, according to U.N. data.