Boat carrying migrants sinks off Turkey leaving 9 people dead

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AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS

Nine people died early on Thursday when a boat carrying migrants sank off the western coast of Turkey, Euronews reported citing the Turkish coast guard.

Four people were rescued.

The boat sank off the coast of Aydın province, near Kuşadası, a popular tourist destination, it said.

In 2015 Turkey became one of the main launch points for more than a million migrants taking the sea route to the European Union, many fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

A 2016 deal between Turkey and the EU sharply reduced the flow after hundreds died crossing to Greek islands a few miles off the Turkish coast.

Mediterranean arrivals in the bloc, including refugees making the longer and more perilous crossing from north Africa to Italy, totaled 172,301 in 2017, down from 362,753 in 2016 and 1,015,078 in 2015, according to UN data.

Up until Tuesday, 54 people described by the Turkish coast guard as “irregular migrants” died this year in the sea off Turkey, according to the coast guard’s website.

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