Turkey: Boat Carrying 45 Migrants Sinks Off Greek Islands, Rescue Efforts Ongoing
republicworld– Eight people remain missing after a boat carrying 45 migrants sank off southwest Turkey, the Turkish ministry said, adding that search and rescue efforts were ongoing. According to a press release, 37 people were rescued from the vessel, which sank some 259km southwest of the Turkish resort town of Kas late on Thursday. The ministry said that two naval ships and one maritime patrol aircraft had been deployed in the rescue attempt.
Additionally, commercial ships were also issued “search sector” messages through a marine announcement system. However, the authorities warned that sea and weather conditions for the search operation are “adverse”. There was no immediate information on the nationalities of the migrants.
Meanwhile, in recent years, migrants have tried to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece in the hopes of starting new lives in Europe. Many rely on smugglers and risk their lives through perilous journeys in overcrowded boats. A 2016 migration deal between Turkey and the EU helped stem refugee flows, however, many still attempt the dangerous sea routes to try to reach one of the Greek Islands.
Migrants, refugees in Turkey
It is worth noting that currently, Turkey hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees. It now also fears a fresh wave of Afghan refugees as US troops withdraw following 20 years of fighting against the Taliban, which has been regaining territory. Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanded more assistance from the EU to deal with the refugees and even threatened to open Turkey’s border if the bloc does not provide additional funds.
Back in June, EU leaders then gave a green light to plans to give Turkey another $3.6 billion over the next few years to provide fresh assistance to Syrian refugees on its territory and to help the country boost border controls. However, Turkey called reducing cooperation on migration to a financial dimension “a big delusion” while urging greater cooperation with the bloc to tackle the issue. Ankara has repeatedly said it wants a review of the 2016 deal in a fashion that “responds to the needs of the day and common interests”. Additionally, amid Taliban- Afghan deadlock, Erdogan will also be holding talks with Afghanistan authorities over the issue of possible migrant and refugee arrivals.