Three more migrants drown off Turkey’s west
AYDIN – Doğan News Agency
42 Syrian migrants were detained in the Aegean province of Aydın on Jan. 30 for attempting to illegally cross into Greece from Turkey. DHA Photo
At least three Syrian migrants, including two children, drowned early on Jan. 31 in a fresh migrant boat tragedy off the western Turkish resort town of Didim.
Some other 12 migrants were rescued by Turkish Coast Guard teams off Didim, a district in the Aegean province of Aydın, early on Jan. 31 after fishermen noticed them floating on the sea following the capsizing of their boat en route to the Greek island of Farmakonisi.
Humanitarian aid was provided to the rescued migrants as they were brought to the Didim District Coast Guard Command.
The bodies of three drowned migrants were sent to the Didim Public Hospital and later to the morgue of the forensic institute in the Aegean province of İzmir.
Meanwhile, the three human traffickers, including a foreign national, were detained for organizing the boat journey that killed at least 39 migrants off Ayvacık, a district in the northwestern province of Çanakkale on Jan. 31. The three traffickers were later formally arrested.
At least five children were among the 39 drowned after their boat bound for the Greek island of Lesbos sank. Among the casualties were nationals of Afghanistan, Myanmar and Syria.
Of the more than 1.1 million refugees who arrived in the EU last year, more than 850,000 arrived by sea in Greece from Turkey, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Over the course of 2015, a total of 805 people died in the Aegean.
In the first month of 2016, more than 52,000 people arrived by sea in Greece and 218 died off the Turkish coast, the IOM said.
Geographically located between war-torn Syria and Iraq in the southeast and the EU member states of Bulgaria and Greece in the northwest, Turkey has become a transition point for migrants looking to illegally cross into the EU, fleeing the violence in Iraq and Syria and seeking a higher standard of living.
The wave of migration across the Aegean Sea has often resulted in injuries and deaths due to either the capsizing of migrant-carrying boats or abuse of migrants by human traffickers.