ISTANBUL – A Turkish court on Friday sentenced two Syrians to four years in jail over the drowning of five people including toddler Aylan Kurdi, the image of whose dead body sparked global sympathy last September over the fate of migrants, Dogan news agency said.
Three-year-old Aylan, whose body washed up on a beach in southwest Turkey, drowned along with his mother and brother among a group of migrants trying to reach Greece by boat.
The two Syrians were each sentenced to four years and two months in jail for smuggling, Dogan reported. 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 migrants 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.
Praised for taking in some 2.5 million refugees from Syria’s five-year civil war, Turkey — a candidate for EU membership — is under pressure to stop migrants making perilous onward journeys to Europe.