On Saturday, almost 40 people, including 5 children, have been found dead on an attempt to reach the Greek islands.
The boat that sank was a 17-meter (56-foot) boat that carried at least 120 people. Most of the migrants were Syrians, but it also carried natives of Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Local people woke up to the alarming sound of the screaming migrants, said Mehmet Unal Sahin, the mayor of Ayvacik. Since then the officials have been rescuing the survivors, which until now are about 75 people from the 120 passengers. The coast guard said it dispatched three boats, a team of divers and an helicopter after they received the calls for help.
The mayor added that they have an 80-kilometre-long coast just across from Lesbos that is very difficult to keep in control. According to journalists at the scene, the weather conditions on the Turkish coast were relatively mild, with light winds and temperature around 12 degrees celsius (54 Fahrenheit), as reported by the New York Times.
The Turkish government expects to recover more dead bodies from the recent boat-sink. The smuggle did not go so far from their departure, the boat “ hit rocks soon after it left the coast, and unfortunately, it sank” said Saim Eskioglu, deputy governor for the coastal Canakkale province that includes Ayvacik.
This tragedy takes the drownings total for January of nearly 250, where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that they recorded at least 805 deaths on the smuggling routes in 2015, when many people sought to enter the European Union via Turkey by reaching one of more than a dozen offshore Greek islands, specially Lesbos. This makes the number increase over 4 times the rate from last year.
The man who allegedly arranged the failed smuggle was arrested by Turkish officials in an attempt to fight the smuggling networks and stem the flow of migrants into Europe, for what they received a financial aid of $3.3 billion from the European Union. The attempts are also part of the country to renew the talks on joining the EU.
Source: The New York Times