A total of 13 migrants were found frozen to death in the Çaldıran district of the eastern province of Van on Feb. 8 after crossing the Iran-Turkey border.
Those killed due to a snowstorm include 10 Afghans and three people from the Syrian border town of Kobani, Van’s local newspapers reported.
Van Governor’s Office released a statement after the report, saying that they received a notice on illegal migrants being found frozen to death, but that the area can’t be reached due to bad weather conditions.
The statement added that the governor’s office notified legal and military authorities, as well as the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), after receiving the notice.
“The area can’t be reached because of the blizzard and heavy snowstorm. The incident will be looked into after weather conditions return to normal,” it said, adding that Iranian authorities were notified and information is being tried to be obtained.
Speaking about the incident, Human Rights Association (İHD) Van provincial head Murat Melet said dozens of people die near borders each year.
“They lose their hopes. I urge everyone to be sensitive. Everyone should fulfill their responsibilities as soon as possible,” Melet said, adding that the bodies should be retrieved.
People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Migrant and Refugee Commission spokesperson Gülsüm Ağaoğlu branded the incident as “a shame for humanity.”
“Iranian and Turkish governments are those mainly responsible for the deaths of these people,” she said.