Eight people have been rescued from a sinking dinghy carrying irregular migrants off Turkey's Aegean coast, security sources said Tuesday.
The Turkish coast guard rescued eight migrants alive off the coast of Bodrum in southwestern Muğla province, but one migrant is still missing, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Search and rescue operations are being carried out from both the sea and air to find the missing migrant.
As the conflicts, poverty and violence continue in the Middle East, Asian countries and Africa, Turkey has become a popular hub for illegal migrants seeking to cross into Europe. Greek islands in close proximity of Turkey's Aegean shores are favorite destinations of migrants heading to Europe. However, journeys aboard unsafe, overcrowded boats often steered by inexperienced migrants turn out deadly.
Turkey and the European Union signed an agreement in 2016 aimed at reducing the number of illegal migrants on the dangerous Aegean Sea route. The deal stipulates that Greece is to send migrants held on its Aegean islands back to Turkey. In return, Turkey is to send Syrian migrants it hosts to various European Union countries. The deal also saw an escalated crackdown on human smugglers and increased sea patrols to prevent immigrants from attempting to cross. For a while, it helped reduce the number, but many migrants still risk the dangerous crossing.