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Capsized boat leaves eight migrants dead off Turkish coast

Migrants board a dinghy off the coast of Turkey's Izmir province [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 October, 2018

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The coastguard found six dead bodies ashore and two floating in the water after the dinghy capsized on Tuesday.

A boat carrying migrants to Europe capsized off Turkey's western shore on Tuesday, leaving eight dead and at least 25 missing. 

The discovery came after an Iraqi woman in wet clothes and wearing a life jacket sought help in Karaburun district, Izmir province.

She told the coastguard that the boat began to sink shortly after setting out, but she managed to reach dry land.

After launching a rescue operation, the coastguard found the bodies of eight migrants, including six ashore and two still in the water. 

Search efforts continued for the missing, the coastguard said.

The nationalities of the other migrants were not given, but Turkey hosts over three million Syrian refugees and up to 300,000 Iraqis.

The boat was thought to be on its way to Greece with Turkey usually used as a transit country by those fleeing war and poverty to try and reach Europe.

The flow of refugees into Europe has slowed since the influx hit a peak in 2015 when over a million people landed in Greece from Turkey, mainly via boats.

The decline is largely due to a draconian 2016 deal the EU struck with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to the continent. 

The agreement, under which all migrants landing on the Greek islands face being sent back to Turkey, went into effect almost immediately.

In exchange the EU agreed to accelerate the approval of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the European bloc by the end of June 2016.

It also pledged to pay 3 billion Euros to Turkey for refugee aid and to kickstart new discussions on Turkey's years-long goal of EU membership.

Rights groups sharply criticised the 2016 refugee swap deal. Amnesty International has called it "illegal, immoral and inhuman". 

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