Fourteen dead after migrant boat sinks off Turkish coast

Seven children are among the 14 migrants who drowned when their boat sank off the northern Turkish Aegean coast, the Turkish media reported on Wednesday.
A further 27 migrants were rescued by Turkish authorities after their boat sank on its way to the Greek island of Lesbos, the Dogan news agency reported on Wednesday.
Turkish Coast Guard divers are searching the waters for more possible victims.
The boat carrying the migrants sank off the coast of Ayvacik early on Wednesday on its way to the Greek island of Lesbos. The migrantsand’ nationalities were not immediately known.
Tens of thousands of migrants have made the perilous journey from Turkey to Europe in recent months, many of them fleeing conflicts in the Middle East while others came from Africa. The onset of winter has so far done little to stem the flow.
Children were among those who died when the wooden boat went down in the 8-kilometer (5 mile) stretch of water separating Lesbos from the Turkish coast. Turkeyand’s coastguard was not immediately available to comment.
European and African leaders are due to meet Wednesday in Malta to discuss the migrant issue, with the EU hoping that pledges of cash to some of the worldand’s poorest countries will help discourage others from making the journey.
The European Union expects a battle at the summit of world leaders in Turkey on Sunday to have its migration crisis recognized as a global problem needing a global response, an EU official said on Tuesday.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) laid out its winter plan last Thursday with an appeal for another $96.15 million in funding. It warned about the possibility of more deaths among the thousands of refugees who have been crossing the Aegean andquotif adequate measures are not taken.andquot
The agency said its focus is on improving shelter and reception facilities for the winter and providing items like tents, refugee housing units, blankets and clothing. It also hopes to winterize water and sanitation systems.
The additional appeal raises UNHCRand’s total additional funding request to nearly $173 million. The UNHCR estimates that more than 700,000 refugees and migrants have reached Europe by sea this year.
Turkey is under pressure from the European Union, which it aspires to join, to do more to keep refugees on its soil and help stem the biggest migration movement the continent has seen since World War II. The EU has proposed financial aid and faster membership for Turkey in the hope of winning its help.
Visiting Turkey a short time ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered to help further Turkeyand’s EU membership process, starting with opening Chapter 17 of the EU accession process this year and preparing the opening of other chapters, in exchange for Turkeyand’s help on the refugee issue.
One day after Merkeland’s visit to Turkey, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu said that Turkey will not be turned into a and”concentration campand” for Europe. However, he also said that Turkey wants fresh funds from the EU, 3.4 billion euros, to contain refugees in Turkey.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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