Eight dead off coast of Turkey in latest migrant disaster

Turkish coast guard teams have found the bodies of eight illegal migrants on the southwestern coast of Turkey, local media reported Friday.

According to the Birgun daily, the coast guard received a tip overnight on an inflatable boat about to sink with 15 migrants aboard near the Fethiye district in the province of Mugla.

Citing a statement issued by the Interior Ministry, Birgun said the rescue teams have so far found the bodies of three women and five men in the sea.

“The search and rescue efforts are continuing to find other irregular migrants who are considered to be missing,” said the statement.

The nationalities of the illegal migrants and their intended destination were not immediately clear.

The Aegean Sea was once the main route for illegal migrants trying to sneak into Europe via Turkey. A deal signed between Turkey and the European Union in March 2016 has curbed the flow of illegal migration.

A total of 60,544 illegal migrants attempted to reach Greece via Turkey last year, up from 25,398 in 2018, according to the latest figures released by the Turkish coast guard.