Duvar EnglishReuters

The death toll from a migrant boat disaster in Lake Van in eastern Turkey rose to 60 on July 20.

The boat, which sank on June 27, is believed to have been carrying 55 to 60 migrants, according to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. Five people have been arrested in relation to the incident.

Lake Van is near Turkey’s border with Iran, from where migrants from Iran, Afghanistan and other countries regularly cross into Turkey heading west towards Europe.

More than 21,000 migrants have reached Van so far this year, Soylu said, adding that 16,000 of them were denied entry but 4,500 managed to enter illegally.

Seven people died and 64 were rescued when a boat carrying migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan sank on the lake in December 2019.

More than a million people reached Greece from Turkey in 2015-16. Numbers dropped sharply following a 2016 agreement between the EU and Turkey for Ankara to take migrants back in return for funds.

Earlier this year, tens of thousands of migrants tried to cross into Greece via land and sea borders after Ankara said it would no longer stop them.

Turkey, home to 3.6 million Syrians, the world’s largest refugee population, had said it would open the frontier because it was alarmed by the prospect of another wave of refugees fleeing war in northwest Syria.