At least 27 migrants killed in Aegean off Turkey

At least 27 migrants killed in Aegean off Turkey

BALIKESİR - Doğan News Agency
At least 27 migrants killed in Aegean off Turkey

AA photo

At least 27 migrants, including 11 children, were killed after a boat bound for the Greek island of Lesbos capsized off Turkey’s Edremit Bay on Feb. 8, the Turkish Coast Guard has said. 

The migrants had been taking a different route, as local security forces have stepped up measures to prevent more crossings from Turkey to Greece.

A group of around 40 migrants set out for Lesbos from the Altınoluk neighborhood of Edremit in Aegean Balıkesir province in the early hours of the morning as weather conditions calmed from earlier heavy winds. However, the boat capsized after sailing around two miles off shore. 

The Turkish Coast Guard reached the dead bodies of 27 migrants, including 11 children, after a notice was issued that migrants had drowned south of Edremit off the Dikili district of Aegean İzmir province. Four of the migrants were rescued alive and one was hospitalized.

Edremit District Governor Ali Sırmalı confirmed the death toll, adding that rescue operations were continuing.

“Eleven of the dead are children. There are four injured migrants. Rescue operations are ongoing,” Sırmalı said.

The latest tragedy comes on the day of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Ankara to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to discuss the migrant crisis, which has affected her country and the European Union deeply. 

Since the beginning of the year, 391 migrants have been killed or reported missing while trying to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece.