Two women drown on the Greek island of Lesbos. Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis subsequently made serious allegations against Turkey.
Athens (AP) – When a boat carrying 34 migrants on board capsized, two women drowned off the Greek island of Lesbos on Wednesday. 32 other people, including four children, had been rescued by the Greek Coast Guard, the state broadcaster (ERT-Nordägäis) reported.
Turkey is responsible for the accident, Greek migration minister Notis Mitarakis said.
According to Mitarakis, the crew of a Turkish Coast Guard boat discovered the migrants’ boat while it was still in Turkish territorial waters. But it was neglected to help the people. “Those who allow this are not only violating the EU-Turkey agreement. They also endangered people’s lives ”, the Minister of Migration continued. There are also some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved, he complained. He mourned the loss of life.
Smugglers continue to try to bring migrants from the Turkish Aegean coast to the Greek islands and thus to the EU. Turkey had agreed with the EU in 2016 to stop these crossings. For this Ankara has received and received billions in financial support.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 9,450 migrants had crossed on November 29. The number of migrants has fallen sharply this year due to strict controls by the Greek Coast Guard. In the previous year, nearly 60,000 people reached the Greek islands in the east of the Aegean by sea. According to UNHCR, 70 people have drowned.