News / Europe

    37 Migrants Die as Boat Sinks Off Turkey

    Turkish paramilitary police officers stand near a dead body of a migrant on the beach near the Aegean town of Ayvacik, Canakkale, Turkey, Jan. 30, 2016.
    Turkish paramilitary police officers stand near a dead body of a migrant on the beach near the Aegean town of Ayvacik, Canakkale, Turkey, Jan. 30, 2016.
    VOA News

    At least 37 migrants, including several children, died Saturday when the boat meant to take them to the Greek island of Lesbos sank off Turkey's western coast.

    The death toll rose late Saturday after search crews found more bodies trapped inside the 17-meter craft.  Rescuers were able to pick up 75 survivors.

    The Turkish news agency Dogan said the migrants included people from Syria, Afghanistan and Myanmar.

    Suspect smuggler arrested

    Police arrested a Turkish man suspected of being the smuggler who organized Saturday's disastrous sea crossing.

    He told Reuters news agency that he was on the boat but denied any wrongdoing.

    "I didn't do it. I swear I didn't do it. I had six relatives on that boat," he said. "I had six relatives and I don't even know whether they are dead or alive. I was also on that boat." he said.  "I swear I didn't do anything. I came here to go Germany."

    Alarming situation

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that deaths of refugees and migrants crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece were "increasing at an alarming rate."

    Despite the cold weather this month, more than 20 times the amount of people are arriving in Greece than in January of 2015, a year in which more than a million people made the dangerous journey to Europe seek asylum, Jan. 19, 2016, Lesbos, Greece. (VOA/Hamada Elrasam)
    Despite the cold weather this month, more than 20 times the amount of people are arriving in Greece than in January of 2015, a year in which more than a million people made the dangerous journey to Europe seek asylum, Jan. 19, 2016, Lesbos, Greece. (VOA/Hamada Elrasam)

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Before Saturday's tragedy, according to IOM estimates, 218 people died this year on that eastern Mediterranean route and 26 others died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea on the traditionally more deadly route between Libya and Italy.

    The winter cold and rough water conditions have not stopped the human wave of migrants seeking refuge in Europe.

    Turkey struck a deal with the European Union last November to slow the flow of migrants in return for more than $3 billion in financial assistance.

    Many of the migrants, looking for a better life, are escaping war and poverty in Middle Eastern and African countries.

     

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    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 30, 2016 2:21 PM
    I recall that when Israel was created the Arabs said they would throw all of the Jews into the sea and destroy Israel. How ironic that it is they who seem to be being thrown into the sea and they who are being destroyed, not by Israel but by each other. They are suffering the very fate they wished on someone else. For this reason I find it impossible to have any sympathy for them. I'll bet if you asked them, they'd still like to see Israel destroyed and all the Jews there killed. Why should I care about them? I can't think of any reason so I don't, not any longer.

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