Nine migrants, mainly children, drown off Turkish coast

Nine migrants, mainly children, drown off Turkish coast

Nine migrants, mainly children, drown off Turkish coast

Nine migrants, including six children, seeking to head to Europe in a speedboat drowned on June 3 when the vessel sank off Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

The boat hit trouble off the Demre district of Turkey’s Mediterranean Antalya province, a popular holiday spot, the report said. Five were rescued while one person was still missing, it added.

Two adults, one woman and six children lost their lives, it said.

The Doğan News Agency said they were seeking to head illegally to Europe but their planned route was not immediately clear.

The nearest EU territory is the small Greek island of Kastellorizo to the west, which lies off the Turkish resort of Kaş.

The nationalities of those on board have yet to be made clear.

Over a million people, many fleeing the war in Syria, crossed to EU member Greece from Turkey in 2015 after the onset of the bloc’s worst migration crisis since World War II.     

Turkey struck a deal with the EU in 2016 in an effort to stem the flow of migrants into Europe, and agreed to take back illegal migrants landing on Greek islands in exchange for incentives including financial aid.

The deal, chastised by rights groups, sharply curbed the number of migrants seeking to cross the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas from Turkey to Greece.

However, observers say the numbers seeking to cross this route have been ticking up again in recent months.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 10,948 people crossed to Greece this year until May 30, sharply more than in the same period in 2017. Thirty-five people lost their lives using this route so far this year, according to the IOM.