Turkish court jails two Syrians over drowning toddler

Turkish court sentences two Syrians to four years in prison over death of refugee boy Aylan Kurdi

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Mar 5, 2016

A Turkish court on Friday sentenced two Syrians to four years in jail over the drowning of five people; including a toddler, the image of whose dead body triggered global sympathy last September over the fate of refugees.

Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose body washed up on a beach in southwest Turkey, drowned along with his mother and brother as well as a group of refugees trying to reach Greece by boat.

The two Syrians were each sentenced to four years and two months in jail for smuggling. They were acquitted of a charge of causing death through conscious neglect.

Since Aylan's death, the European Union has faced a growing crisis over how to deal with hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and elsewhere, a crisis that threatens to tear the 28-nation bloc apart.

EU Council President Donald Tusk was visiting Turkey on Friday to press for closer cooperation in dealing with the migrants ahead of an EU summit on Monday.

EU leaders will hold a special summit with Turkey in Brussels on March 7 to push forward a deal aimed at stemming the flow of refugees into Europe.

Hosting close to 2.7 million refugees, the highest number in the world, Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion of its own resources to support them.

Turkey also has become a major transit country for refugees and migrants seeking to enter Europe through the Aegean.

Under a refugee action plan, the EU agreed to offer 3 billion euros to meet the needs of refugees hosted in Turkey, visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens and speeding up accession talks in exchange for the candidate country stemming the flow of refugees seeking to enter Europe through Greece.

TRTWorld, Reuters