ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Rescue teams looking for a migrant boat, allegedly capsized in a lake in eastern Turkey, recovered five bodies on Tuesday, officials said.
A search-and-rescue mission involving helicopters and boats was launched after a boat with migrants across Lake Van was reported missing on June 27, the regional government agency said. The bodies of five people, believed to be migrants, were pulled from the lake on Tuesday, the statement said, adding that the search for other missing migrants continues.
News channel HaberTurk said as many as 50 people may have been on the boat when it went down in stormy weather. The migrants are said to come from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, the report said.
Last year, seven migrants drowned, while 64 others were rescued when their boat capsized in the lake, which is close to the Iranian border but within Turkey’s borders.
The smugglers are believed to choose to transport migrants across the lake to escape police checks on roads.
Turkey, home to approximately 3.7 million Syrian refugees, is an important crossroads for migrants trying to reach Europe.
Earlier this year, thousands of migrants arrived at the Turkish border with Greece, attempting to cross illegally after Turkey made up for the threat of opening its borders to those seeking to enter Europe. The move led to days of violent clashes between the migrants and the Greek border authorities.
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