3 babies among 6 dead after boat sinks off Turkey coast

Ankara: Three babies were among six dead after a boat carrying 16 people en route to a Greek island capsized off the northwestern coast of Turkey, state media reported on Sunday.

Nine people were rescued by the coastguard after the boat, which was illegally on its way to Lesbos, sank off Ciplak island overnight, state news agency Anadolu said.

One person remains missing but search efforts continued in Balikesir province, the agency reported, adding that the individuals on board were Turkish.

Two of those on board the boat were believed to be traffickers while some were suspected of being members of the group accused of organising the July 2016 failed coup, Ayvalik District Governor Gokhan Gorguluarslan told the agency.

Turkey claims US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen and his movement ordered the 2016 attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which Gulen strongly denies.

Over 77,000 people suspected of links to Gulen have been arrested since July 2016 while tens of thousands more have been suspended or sacked over alleged Gulen connections.

Agence France-Presse