Ankara, (AFP): At least 22 migrants trying to reach Greece by boat, including 11 women and four children, drowned today when their vessel sank off Turkey’s southwest coast, local media reported.
Turkish coastguards recovered nine more bodies, bringing the toll to 22, and rescued 211 migrants from the wooden boat which set off from the southwestern resort town of Datca for the nearby Greek island of Kos, Dogan news agency reported.
The nationalities of the migrants are not yet known.
Rescue efforts were still continuing, according to the news agency.
There has been a dramatic spike in the numbers of migrants and refugees setting out from Turkey in rickety boats for the European Union.
Most are fleeing conflicts and misery in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa.
Harrowing pictures of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, whose body was found washed up on a Turkish beach after the boat carrying his family to Kos sank, caused an outpouring of emotion around the world, pressuring European leaders to step up their response to the refugee crisis.
But two weeks later EU members are still at odds over how to accommodate the tens of thousands of new arrivals.
Turkish authorities say they have rescued over 42,000 migrants from stricken boats since the beginning of the year.
The route across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece has become the busiest for migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe