Eight migrants die after boat sinks off Turkish coast

Eight people, including three women, died after a boat carrying 15 migrants sank off Turkey’s Aegean coast, Turkish Interior Ministry said on Friday.

A rubber boat went down late Thursday off the coast of Fethiye district in southwest province of Muğla, the ministry said in a statement, adding that other people on board were missing and search was underway. 

The ministry did not provide information on the nationalities of the migrants who were on the boat.

Turkey, which is home to 3.7 million Syrian refugees and an estimated 1 million migrants from elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, is a main crossing point for people fleeing violent conflicts and poverty and hoping to reach Europe.

Turkey and the European Union agreed on a deal in 2016 to curb illegal migrant crossings from Turkey to Greece, but many refugees still risk death by taking a dangerous journey across the Aegean to reach the Greek islands.

Thirty-four migrants died at sea off the coast of Turkey in 2019, and Turkish coast guards stopped 60,802 migrants trying to travel to Europe via Turkey's coastline last year.