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Turks Rescue 94 Illegal Migrants

August 8, 2002

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ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ The coast guard rescued 94 severely dehydrated illegal migrants from a Turkish-flagged boat Thursday. Most of them had fainted from the heat and had not had food or water in days, authorities said.

The coast guard in the Aegean resort of Kusadasi stopped the 50-foot boat Yuksel and found the migrants, who had set off from Iraq 20 days ago. Three of the migrants, whose conditions were serious, were taken to a hospital, Sgt. Mehmet Tara of the coast guard said.

The migrants, mostly Iraqis and Afghans, had paid about $4,000 each for the trip, which they hoped would eventually take them to Greece. Thirteen children were among the group.

The migrants were immediately given water and food and had medical examinations by doctors.

``They were just very thirsty and hungry,″ said Tara. ``They are feeling fine at the moment.″

Each year, thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa pay Turkish smugglers to sneak them into prosperous European countries.

Turkey is under pressure from European Union countries to stem the flow of illegal migrants. But with long shorelines and land borders with eight other countries, that is proving to be a difficult task.

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