Turkey on Sunday expressed grief after a boat with 127 migrants on board sank off the eastern coast of Tunisia on Saturday.
Some 84 of 127 migrants have been rescued by Tunisian authorities while the remaining are still missing.
“This tragedy in the Mediterranean is neither the first nor will it be the last. Turkey regrets these tragic incidents and losses on the migration routes,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
The statement noted that 866 immigrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean. “Saving lives at sea is both a conscientious and legal obligation for states,” it said.
“However, the lack of coordination of the search and rescue responsibility at sea within the EU and the attempt to transfer international responsibility to transit countries are a threat to the right to life of immigrants” the Foreign Ministry said.
The statement stressed that neither Libya nor Turkey is the source of irregular migration. “The cause of mixed migration movements is the ongoing instability, conflict and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan and Syria,” it said.
The ministry said that the problem could not be prevented without eliminating the causes of migration.
“We once again invite the international community to find solutions to the problems that lie at the root of mixed migration movements in our region and to share responsibilities and burdens fairly,” it added.
Tunisian authorities have rescued 84 of 127 migrants making their way by boat to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea.
Every year, thousands of irregular migrants use Tunisia and Libya as a gateway to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in overcrowded boats, often dying in the process.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, a total of 1,400 died in 2020 while trying to make the journey.