Two babies among nine migrants who drowned off Turkey’s coast
The Turkish coastguard on Tuesday recovered the bodies of nine migrants -- including two babies -- after their boat sank off the west coast while trying to reach Europe.Updated: Feb 02, 2016, 20:42 IST
The Turkish coastguard on Tuesday recovered the bodies of nine migrants -- including two babies -- after their boat sank off the west coast while trying to reach Europe.
The coastguard said it discovered the boat half capsized just 25 metres (yards) from the coastline after it set off from the town of Seferihisar in Izmir province in an apparent bid to reach Greece.
The search was continuing in the Aegean, the coastguard said in a statement, adding that two survivors had been rescued.
The deaths come after 37 migrants drowned off another part of the Turkish coast on Saturday -- in harrowing scenes reminiscent of the death of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler whose tiny body was found lying face down on a Turkish beach in September.
Turkey reached an agreement with the European Union in November to stem the flow of migrants bound for Europe in return for three billion euros ($3.2 billion) in financial assistance.
But the agreement has failed to check the tide of arrivals, many of them refugees from Syria fleeing the conflict in their homeland.
Turkey, which is hosting at least 2.5 million refugees from Syria, has become the main launchpad for migrants fleeing war, persecution and poverty to Europe.
Neither the deal with the EU nor harsh winter conditions have appeared to deter migrants trying to reach Europe, many of whom pay people smugglers thousands of dollars for the risky crossing.
The government said on Monday it was working on new legal measures to strengthen penalties for human smuggling by making it an “act of terror and organised crime”.