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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:09, June 08, 2006
Turkey refuses rescued immigrants to disembark at port
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Rescued 22 illegal immigrants are still waiting at Kusadasi Port in western Turkey as Ankara refused to allow them to disembark, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Wednesday.

The immigrants were rescued from the Aegean Sea on Tuesday by a Bahamian cruise ship "Noordam," off Kusadasi town in Aydin province after their boat capsized off Kusadasi.

A six-year-old child drowned in the accident but the other 22 were rescued by "Noordam" in the Greek territorial waters.

The ship took the 22 immigrants to Kusadasi Port, but they were not allowed to get off the ship since their boat did not sink in the Turkish territorial waters.

"Noordam" will depart at 8:30 p.m. local time Wednesday if Turkish officials allow the illegal immigrants to get off the ship.

Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan said that concerned authorities were evaluating the situation of the 22 immigrants, among them Mauritanians, Somalians, Palestinians and Iranians.

Turkey has often been used as a springboard by illegal immigrants from the Mideast and Asian countries to Europe.

Many of them take the risks of traveling on dangerous boats, which easily capsize in the tough sea journey.

Since 2004, Turkish security forces have arrested 56,430 illegal immigrants in the country.

Source: Xinhua

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