More drown in Aegean as EU strives to tackle crisis
As European Union leaders seek to boost cooperation in tackling a major refugee crisis, there was more tragedy in the Aegean over the weekend with at least 16 migrants drowning in their attempt to get to Greece from Turkey.
Meanwhile, Greek diplomats have expressed concern following proposals by EU officials for joint Greek-Turkish patrols in the Aegean, a prospect Athens rejects. Some sources fear that Brussels is trying to heap more obligations on Greece while Turkey steps up tensions in the Aegean where the drownings continue.
In one incident late on Friday, the bodies of four children – three girls, aged 5, 9 and 16, and a 2-year-old boy – were discovered by the Greek coast guard off Kalymnos. According to the accounts of 11 adult survivors, another boy was missing. On Saturday, the Turkish coast guard recovered the bodies of another 12 migrants whose boat sank off Turkey’s coast. According to sources, they were heading to the Greek island of Lesvos.
Lesvos has borne the brunt of an influx of migrants. Last week alone, at least 10 people, including six children, drowned in an attempt to get the island. On a visit to Lesvos on Friday, European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos inaugurated Greece’s first refugee screening center, or “hotspot.”