A boat that sank on Van Lake in eastern Turkey is believed to have had 55 to 60 migrants onboard, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on July 8, adding that six bodies had been recovered so far. The lake is located on the path of migrants attempting to reach western Turkey from Iran, Afghanistan and other countries.
A lawyer from Van Bar Association Migration and Asylum Commission said that the death toll in the migrant boat accident in Lake Van is unknown. "Unfortunately we don't have enough information about the boat that sank in Van Lake over the weekend. The Van Bar Association hasn't received a public defender request for the boat yet."
A boat that sank on Lake Van in eastern Turkey is believed to have been carrying 55-60 migrants, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on July 1, adding that six bodies had been recovered so far. The lake is near the border with Iran, from where migrants regularly cross into Turkey, heading west toward Europe.
Four migrants are missing after a boat sank off of Turkey's Aegean coast in the early morning of June 28. While coast guard rescued 35 migrants off of the sinking boat, the search for the missing four is ongoing.
The dolphins living in Istanbul, the Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea started their migration to the Black Sea for the summer. The mammals were highly visible as they made their way through a deserted Bosphorus during COVID-19 isolation.
Nuray Pehlivan reports: Thousands of migrants who remain at Turkey’s borders in hopes of crossing over to Europe are now being told to leave the area due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ankara’s recent instructions about the coronavirus directly contradict their Feb. 28 decision that allowed migrants crossings, leaving them once again in limbo.
A lawmaker and human rights activist from the eastern province of Van said that immigration continues on the Iran border despite its official closure since Feb. 23, adding that the traffic might widen the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Turkey. “They need to start placing incoming migrants under quarantine and inform the residents of border villages,” Turkey’s Human Rights Association Van Chair Murat Melet said.
Refugees in Istanbul have called on the authorities to act to protect migrants and refugees from coronavirus, saying that they were left to die amid the increasing number of cases. Speaking to Mesopotamia Agency, the refugees said that they took shelter in mosques since congregational prayers were suspended on March 16 to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Turkish President Erdoğan on March 17 held a teleconference with the leaders of France, Germany and Britain. The quartet summit discussed the Syria crisis and migrant issue as well as joint action against coronavirus, Turkish presidency said.
Women and children migrants at Turkey's border with Greece protested the European Union's refusal to allow them entry in front of the Kastanies Border Gate on March 12. The group chanted slogans such as "Greece, open the gate" and "Help us" as they marched across the encampment where they have been waiting to leave Turkey since Feb. 28.
Turkey's Health Ministry has appointed a National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) to conduct health screenings on the thousands of migrants at the Greek border. UMKE employees have begun to disinfect the encampment and check the temperatures of migrants with electronic and thermal devices.
The Greek Coast Guard said March 11 that one of its patrol boats was rammed by a Turkish Coast Guard vessel close to the island of Kos, amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Athens’ Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador in protest. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Greek Ambassador to Ankara Michael-Christos Diamessis, calling on Greece "to end violations of the Turkish waters."
The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) will be applying to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of migrants who were exposed to violence by Greek forces, TBB Chair Metin Feyzioğlu said March 11. Feyzioğlu visited the encampment near the Pazarkule Border Gate with a committee, where he said they collected evidence of maltreatment by Greece.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 10 that he was due to meet Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, French leader Emmanuel Macron and possibly U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a summit in Istanbul on March 17.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency has claimed that Greek police are digging a trench along the border and have placed fences along the Evros River, a relatively safe crossing for migrants. Migrants at the Turkey-Greece border have been exposed to tear gas and plastic bullets from both sides since Ankara's Feb. 28 decision to allow migrants to cross into the European Union.