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Refugee boat sinks off Turkey with 45 on board

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Turkish Coast Guard team on mission in the Aegean Sea (file photo)

A migrant boat carrying 45 people sank off southwest Turkey, prompting the coast guard to launch a search and rescue mission, the Turkish defense ministry said Friday.

The coast guard was searching for the missing boat "after receiving a tip-off" that it sank on Thursday some 260 kilometers (160 miles) off the coast of the holiday resort town of Kas, the ministry said in a statement.

There was no immediate information on the nationalities of the migrants.

Illegal immigrants often use Turkey as a gateway to reach prosperous European Union states, mainly via Greece.

Many rely on smugglers and risk their lives through perilous journeys in overcrowded boats.

In 2016, Turkey inked a deal with the EU to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

(Source: AFP)


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