11 migrants drown when boat sinks off Turkish coast

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Bodies of refugees are seen on a beach after a boat carrying refugees sank off at Turkey's Agean coast in Aydin's Kusadasi district, Turkey on March 24, 2017. 11 people have drowned and 8 rescued off the Aegean Sea coast of Turkey. AFP

Eleven people, including five children, died and four are missing after a boat carrying 22 migrants sank off the Aegean coastal town of Kuşadası in Turkey on Friday.

According to local media, the bodies of the migrants washed up on a beach in Kuşadası early Friday, while rescuers managed to save seven people and the coast guard was searching for the four missing people.

Turkey and the European Union signed an agreement last year to curb illegal migration that helped reduce the influx from Turkey to Europe via Greek islands.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, 3,629 refugees and migrants have crossed to Greece from Turkey so far this year, and about 60 arrive in the Greek islands each day. At least 173,000 people, mostly Syrians, arrived in 2016.

On Thursday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey will review all political and administrative ties with the EU after an April referendum, including the migrant deal, as EU-Turkey relations have deteriorated following the cancellation of Turkish ministers’ political rallies in Europe for the upcoming referendum, which will switch the country into an executive presidency.

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