ANOTHER TRAGEDY. Members of Turkish emergency services respond after a migrant boat sank just 500 meters from the Turkish coast, March 10, 2016. Photo by EPA
ANKARA, Turkey – At least 5 migrants, including a baby, drowned as they tried to sail from Turkey to Greece, the Dogan news agency reported on Thursday, March 10.
The raft, which was transporting Afghan and Iranian migrants to the Greek island of Lesbos, foundered just 500 meters (550 yards) from the Turkish coast on Wednesday night.
Turkish coastguards managed to save 9 of the migrants on board while two are still missing.
The fresh tragedy came as the European Union and Turkey are trying to firm up a proposed deal to end the worst migration crisis to hit the continent since World War II.
On Monday, Turkey proposed a deal that would see the EU resettle one Syrian refugee from camps in Turkey in exchange for every Syrian that Turkey takes from Greece, in a bid to reduce the incentive for people to board boats for Europe.
In return, Turkey wants billions of euros (dollars) in aid, visa-free access to Europe's passport-free Schengen zone, and a speeding up of Ankara's efforts to join the EU – demands that go too far for some.
EU leaders hope to finalize the deal at a summit on March 17-18.
Turkey has become the main launchpad for migrants fleeing the 5-year civil war in Syria in search of a better life in Europe.
Some 850,000 people landed in Greece from Turkey last year, often in desperately unseaworthy vessels.
Since January 1, more than 130,000 people have made the trip. – Rappler.com