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Migrant Boat Sinks Off Western Turkey, At Least 51 Dead

Turkish officials say at least 51 illegal immigrants have drowned after their overcrowded boat sank in rough waters off western Turkey.

Officials say the 15-meter-long boat sank Saturday in the Aegean sea near the Turkish town of Seferihisar as it was carrying up to 85 migrants on their way to Europe. Turkish authorities rescued six survivors Sunday, including two Palestinians.

The other migrants are believed to be Palestinian, Somali and Iraqi.

A Turkish official in the western city of Izmir, Orhan Sefik Guldibi, says the possibilty of finding more survivors at this stage is diminishing.

Immigrants from Asia and Africa often enter Turkey illegally on their way to European countries in search of jobs and a better life. Smugglers transport many migrants on fragile and overcrowded boats that are prone to accidents.

The European Union has pressed Turkey's government to crack down on illegal immigration. Turkey is seeking to join the EU.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.