A minibus carrying illegal migrants plunged into a cliff in the eastern Turkish province of Van on Friday and 17 migrants were injured in the accident.
The minibus was traveling in the Gevaş district of Van when it crashed. The driver fled the scene afterwards. Police launched an investigation into the cause of the accident. There were 14 other migrants in the bus but they escaped uninjured. Security sources said the minibus had its seats removed to cram more people inside. The nationalities of the migrants were not disclosed by authorities but Van, located near the Iranian border, is among the provinces which has seen an increasing flow of migrants from Asian countries, particularly Afghanistan. Seventeen people were killed when another minibus carrying illegal migrants crashed in Van last month.
Turkey has been a key transit point for illegal migrants aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution. However, these journeys often turn lethal, be it a short journey to Greece by sea aboard unsafe boats or in overcrowded minibuses and trucks.
In related news, the number of illegal migrants who tried to cross into Greece via Turkey's Aegean shores has reached 22,140 since January. The Coast Guard intercepted the migrants in cities lying along the Aegean Sea, from Balıkesir to İzmir. In the first half of this month, 3,854 migrants were stopped before they boarded unsafe boats for potentially deadly journeys. A total of 28 people were killed since January when their boats sank in separate incidents. Security forces also detained 32 migrant smugglers in operations in the Aegean region this year.
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