At least 27 migrants were killed after a boat bound for the Greek island of Lesbos capsized off Turkey’s Edremit Bay on Feb. 8.
They had been taking a different route as local security forces had stepped up measures to prevent more crossings from Turkey to Greece.
Migrants set out for Lesbos from the Altınoluk neighborhood of Edremit early Monday as weather was calm. However, the boat capsized after sailing around two miles.
The Turkish Coast Guard reached the dead bodies of 27 migrants, including 11 children. Four of the migrants were rescued and one was taken to hospital.
Edremit District Governor Ali Sırmalı confirmed the death toll, adding that rescue operations were under way.
“Eleven of the dead are children. There are four injured migrants. Rescue works are ongoing,” Sırmalı said.
A search-and-rescue operation is under way to find the missing refugees following survivors’ statements that there were around 40 people on board.
Meanwhile, an earlier report of a separate capsizing off İzmir’s Dikili coast in the Aegean on Feb. 8, in which 11 migrants were said to have been killed, has been revealed to be the same incident as the disaster in Edremit.
Turkey’s Aegean provinces — Canakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin — are prime spots for refugees leaving for the EU, with many Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.
Over the past year, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys in an attempt to reach northern and western Europe in search of a better life.
Of the more than 1.1 million refugees who arrived in the EU last year, more than 850,000 arrived by sea to Greece from Turkey, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Over the course of the year, 805 people died in the Aegean. In the first month of 2016, more than 52,000 people arrived by sea in Greece, according to the IOM; more than 200 have died off the Turkish coast.