The Latest: Turkish raids on factories making unsafe boats

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The Latest on the movement of refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere to Europe (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

Turkish media say police have raided three factories producing unlicensed and poor-quality inflatable boats used to smuggle migrants to Greece.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said Saturday police seized 49 boats in the simultaneous raids in the Aegean coastal city of Izmir a day earlier.

The agency says the factories' owners were fined for unlicensed production of the boats. According to the private Dogan news agency, they faced administrative action that could lead to the closing the factories.

Police in Istanbul and elsewhere have in the past months conducted similar raids on workshops that produce defective lifejackets sold to migrants.

Turkey is under intense pressure to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. In November, it agreed to fight the smuggling networks and help curb irregular migration. In return, the European Union pledged 3 billion euros ($3.25 billion) to help improve the refugees' conditions.

The International Organization for Migration says 284 migrants have died so far this year trying to make the dangerous crossing from Turkey to Greece.


10 a.m.

European Union foreign ministers anxious to stem the flow of migrants coming through the Balkans are discussing with their counterparts from the region better ways to protect borders.

With Greece unable to control the thousands of migrants making the crossing from Turkey, some EU nations are now looking to help non-member Macedonia stop them at its southern border before they get to the European Schengen zone of border-free travel.

Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Szijjarto says, "If Greece is not ready or able to protect the Schengen zone and doesn't accept any assistance from the EU then we need another defense line which is obviously Macedonia and Bulgaria."