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20 dead as boat carrying immigrants sinks

A boat carrying some 70 illegal migrants has sunk off Turkey's Aegean coast, killing at least 20.

world Updated: Dec 10, 2007 16:33 IST

A boat carrying some 70 illegal migrants has sunk off Turkey's Aegean coast and at least 20 bodies have washed up on the shore, the

Anatolia

news agency reported on Monday.

The boat is believed to have sunk on Saturday off the coast of Sererihisar, south of the city of Izmir, Anatolia reported, quoting local governor Orhan Sefik Guldibi. Six of the migrants were rescued late on Sunday.

Guldibi said rescuers had recovered 20 bodies that had washed ashore.

"The survivors said there were between 60 and 70 people on board. We are afraid that the death toll will rise," he told Anatolia.

There was no immediate information on the migrants' nationalities.

Thousands of immigrants from Asia and Africa enter Turkey illegally on their way to European countries in search of jobs and a better life.

Smugglers often take the migrants to Greece on fragile and overcrowded boats, and such accidents are not uncommon.

The European Union, which Turkey wants to join, is pressing Turkey to crack down on illegal immigration.