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Turkey: 36 die as refugee craft sinks off Agean Sea

6th Jan 2016
Turkey: 36 die as refugee craft sinks off Agean Sea
BALIKESIR, (AA): At least 36 people drowned off Turkey’s Aegean Sea coast when an inflatable boat carrying refugees sank early Tuesday, the Turkish Coast Guard said.

A search-and-rescue effort was launched after the boat capsized off the coast of western Turkey’s Balikesir province as it tried to reach the Greek island of Lesbos.

District Governor Namik Kemal Nazli told Anadolu Agency that 12 refugees had been rescued. He said the refugees were believed to be from Iraq, Syria and Algeria.

Turkey’s five Aegean provinces – Canakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin – are prime spots for refugees leaving Turkey for the EU, with Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.

Over the past year, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean in a bid to reach northern and western Europe in search for a better life.

An estimated 805 died at sea in the Aegean in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). More than 847,000 arrived in Greece by sea over the year.

Worsening weather conditions in winter have made the trip even more dangerous.

According to the IOM, more than a million refugees arrived in Europe by sea last year.

Author: Nilay Kar
[Photo: Turkish coast guards are seen after the rescue operation of a refugee’s body stucked between groynes after a boat carrying refugees sank off during their journey to Europe, at Altinova neighborhood in Ayvalik district of Balikesir on January 5, 2016. Photographer: Mahmut Serdar Alakuş/AA]

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