Refugee boat capsizes, leaving 6 dead including 3 infants in Aegean Sea

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AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA

An inflatable boat carrying 16 people affiliated with the Gülen movement en route to the Greek Island of Lesbos capsized in northwestern Turkey on Sunday, leaving six people including three infants dead and one missing, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Six people drowned after the boat sank off Çıplak Island, part of Balıkesir’s Ayvalık district, said Gökhan Görgülüarslan, the local governor. Nine others were rescued by the coastguard and one person is missing, added Görgülüarslan.

A search is underway for the person missing.

The victims were infants Y.B.A., B.Y. and N.Y; two women identified as S.A. and S.A.; and a man identified as G.Y.. Among those rescued are reportedly teachers, doctors and shopkeepers.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive post-coup witch-hunt carried out by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Many have tried to flee Turkey illegally as the government had cancelled the passports of thousands of people.

More than 200,000 people had been investigated over the Gülen links, according to the Justice Ministry.

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