Migrant crisis: ’24 dead’ off Turkey as boat sinks


Source: BBC

At least 24 migrants have died off the Turkish coast trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, Turkish media say.

The victims, including children, drowned when their boat capsized after setting off from Balikesir province.

About 400 people have died crossing into Europe in 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

Most were travelling to Greece on their way to northern Europe. Recent fighting in Syria has sent thousands of people fleeing towards the Turkish border.

The sea route from Turkey to Greece was the most popular way for migrants to try and enter Europe in 2015.

In the latest incident, the migrants departed from the Altinoluk area in western Turkey, and their boat capsized two miles into the crossing, Hurriyet newspaper said.


The paper denied earlier media reports that another migrant boat had capsized further south off Izmir province.

News of the deaths came as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Turkey to discuss ways of reducing the number of migrants travelling to Europe.

After talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Mrs Merkel said they had agreed to seek help from Nato – both countries are members – in handling the migrant crisis.

She said they would use the next meeting of the alliance to consider “to what extent Nato can be helpful with the surveillance situation at sea” and support the EU border agency Frontex.

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