Boat carrying refugees sinks off Turkish coast with '11 dead and at least four missing'

The boat capsized near the resort town of Kusadasi with seven people believed to have been rescued

Chris Stevenson
Friday 24 March 2017 13:46
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Turkish rescue workers and medics work next to the bodies of migrants laid out near an ambulance in Kusadasi, Turkey
Turkish rescue workers and medics work next to the bodies of migrants laid out near an ambulance in Kusadasi, Turkey

A boat carrying refugees and migrants has reportedly sunk off Turkey's Aegean coast leaving at least 11 dead and a number of people missing.

Video footage on the DHA network shows half a dozen of the bodies after they had been recovered from the water and were laid out near ambulances.

DHA says the boat capsized near the resort town of Kusadasi and that seven people were rescued.

Turkish television channel NTV - who reported the number of dead of missing - said the refugees and migrants had been travelling in a rubber boat.

A deal between Turkey and the European Union on curbing illegal migration, struck a year ago, helped reduce the refugee and migrant influx to Europe via Greek islands to a trickle. But some are still trying to make the perilous voyage across the Aegean.

Just 3,629 refugees and migrants have crossed to Greece from Turkey so far this year, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, and about 60 arrive on Greek islands each day. At least 173,000 people, mostly Syrians, arrived in 2016.

Europe's deteriorating relations with Turkey could endanger the deal, under which Ankara helps control migration in return for the promise of accelerated EU membership talks and aid.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey would review all political and administrative ties with the EU after an April referendum, including the migrant deal.

Mr Erdogan has been angered by Germany and the Netherlands cancelling planned rallies on their territory by Turkish officials seeking to drum up support for a “yes” vote in the referendum, which could lead to constitutional changes extending the powers of the presidency.

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