Two Pakistanis, among seven migrants, died when a boat capsized in Lake Van of Turkey's Bitlis province, said Pakistan's Foreign Office on Friday.
"A total of 71 individuals of various nationalities were present on the boat when it capsized, including 25 from Pakistan," reads the press statement issued by the FO. “Unfortunately, two Pakistani nationals lost their lives."
It said that missions in Turkey are in touch with the local authorities to ascertain the identity of the deceased individuals. “The families of the deceased will be notified upon confirmation of their identities and all possible assistance will be extended to the bereaved families for repatriation of the remains of their loved ones,” it added.
According to the Foreign Office statement, 23 other Pakistani nationals were present on the boat. They have been rescued and are with the Turkish authorities. Those in need of medical attention are being treated in local hospitals.
For further information and facilitation, the officers of the Embassy at Ankara and Consulate General in Istanbul can be contacted:
1. Umer Siddique, Counsellor
Embassy of Pakistan, Ankara
Contact No. 00905355138499
2. Amir Berlas, Protocol Assistant,
Consulate General of Pakistan, Istanbul
Contact No. 00905325683413
The lake is near the border with Iran, from where migrants regularly cross into Turkey, heading west toward Europe. It was not clear why the migrants were on the boat in Lake Van, which is completely within Turkey’s borders.
Turkey hosts more than four million refugees, including some 3.6 million Syrians who fled the conflict raging in their country since 2011.
The flow of refugees crossing to Europe from Turkey has dropped since an agreement concluded in 2016 between Ankara and the EU.