Nine bodies of refugees, migrants found off Turkish coast, officials say

Nine bodies of refugees, migrants found off Turkish coast, officials say

The bodies of nine migrants, some of whom may have drowned up to 10 days earlier while trying to reach Europe by sea, were found on Turkey's coast in recent days, as neither cold winter waters nor government efforts seemed to stem the flow of migrants.

The bodies of five men and one woman were found washed up on the shores of Seferihisar near Izmir on Tuesday, district governor Resul Celik told Reuters, adding doctors believe they drowned 5 to 10 days ago.

The coast guard said separately in a statement that it had found the bodies of a girl and two women near Ayvalik further north after a boat partially capsized. It rescued 13 people, but a search continued for two men and a boy.

In a deal struck at the end of November, Turkey promised to help stem the flow of migrants to Europe in return for cash, visas and renewed talks on joining the European Union.

But European officials have repeatedly said Turkey's efforts to curb migrant arrivals were falling short.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday 18,872 migrants had arrived in Europe by sea in the first 11 days of the year, almost all of them to Greece. 47 people died trying to make this route.

Turkish officials have said dozens of suspected ring-leaders of human trafficking networks have been arrested and the Turkish government has said it is trying to reduce illegal immigration by giving Syrians, who represent the biggest portion of arrivals to Europe, work permits.


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