Turkey’s eastern Lake Van has become a deadly route for migrants looking to reach Europe, leaving behind scores of gravestones belonging to westbound Afghans, Pakistanis and other migrants, Euronews reported on Monday.
The lake, located near the border with Iran, has witnessed a number of sinking boats that carried migrants seeking to make their way to Greece, it said.
In December, a boat carrying migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan sunk in the lake, killing seven people.
In June, Turkish rescue teams retrieved the bodies of 61 migrants from Iran, Afghanistan and other countries after a boat sank in a storm.
Small-scale traffickers, who previously only smuggled tea and sugar, are now involved in trafficking people through the lake because of the large amounts of money involved, Euronews said.
Migrants who succeed in making the crossing through Turkey are placed into refugee camps on the island of Lesbos in Greece.
Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in 2016 which stipulates that the bloc would allocate 3 billion euros in aid to Turkey to help the country host migrants. The deal aimed to discourage refugees and migrants from entering Europe.
The influx of migrants from the country to Europe stopped following the deal, but has picked up again in recent months.