UPDATES DEATH TOLL
By Durmus Genc and Ali Balli
MUGLA, Turkey (AA) - Some 12 irregular migrants were killed as a boat capsized off the southwestern Aegean coast of Turkey on Monday.
According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent at the site, at least 31 migrants were rescued in search and rescue operations.
The operations for the missing people are underway.
According to data compiled by Anadolu Agency in May, 2019, at least 50 irregular migrants lost their lives on their way to Europe through Turkey this year.
Most of the deaths took place along the Turkish-Iranian border, where 32 migrants froze to death while trying to cross to Van province in eastern Turkey from Iran.
In four separate incidents at the Aegean Sea, a total of 16 irregular migrants drowned while trying to cross to Greek islands.
Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.
The migrants were mostly Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraqi nationals.
*Writing by Faruk Zorlu and Busra Nur Bilgic