Eight bodies found on Northern Cyprus coast, police say

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A total of eight bodies have been found washed up on the shores of Northern Cyprus over the past two days, police said on Monday, adding the dead were believed to be Syrian migrants.

The bodies were found in the Turkish Cypriot region of Karpas, an official at the Dipkarpaz police station said. The boat may have sunk on Saturday night, the official said. Two bodies were found on Sunday and six on Monday, he said.

“It saddens us to see desperate people, who are separated from their homes, countries perishing in Mediterranean. The bodies that reached to our shore reminds us how peace and stability is necessary in our region,” Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci said on Twitter.

Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state only recognized by Turkey while southern, Greek-speaking Cyprus is a member of the European Union.

More than a million people entered the EU in 2015, mostly fleeing war in the Middle East and Africa, marking the biggest influx of refugees and migrants in Europe since World War Two.

Since then, the main Eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece has been largely shut by a deal between the EU and Ankara.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by David Dolan