Refugees’ bodies wash ashore in western Turkey

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Seven people found dead in Izmir province

IZMIR, Turkey – Seven refugees have been found dead in the western Turkish province of Izmir late on Wednesday.

Local people found six bodies in the Seferihisar district before calling the Turkish gendarmerie; local security forces at the scene confirmed that the six people had drowned.

Meanwhile, another person was found dead in Izmir’s Menderes district. Gendarmes have launched an investigation.

It is believed that the refugees were trying to reach nearby Greek islands but drowned in the attempt.

Turkey’s five Aegean provinces – Canakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin – are prime spots for refugees leaving for the EU, with several Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.

Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of people have made the short-but-perilous journey across the Aegean in a bid to reach northern and western Europe in search of a better life.

An estimated 805 died at sea in the Aegean in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). More than 847,000 arrived in Greece by sea over the year.

Worsening weather conditions in winter have made the trip even more dangerous.

According to the IOM, more than a million refugees arrived in Europe by sea last year.

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