ANKARA

Two Greek Coast Guard boats pushing back asylum seekers into Turkey’s territorial waters were driven out of the area, the Turkish Coast Guard Command said Thursday.

At 10.03 a.m. (0703GMT) Wednesday, the boats breached Turkish territorial waters in the Kardak Cliffs area — an area between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea, the Turkish Coast Guard Command said on Twitter.

“The Greek elements, which do not have limits in violation of international law, constantly push irregular migrants back into Turkish territorial waters. They were driven out of our territorial waters, which they also violated this time,” it said.

The Greek boats were removed by prevention maneuvers that saw the boats rub against each other, said the command.

Turkey said its Coast Guard is on a 24/7 mission to ensure the safety and security of Turkish seas.

Recent months have seen multiple reports of Greek forces illegally pushing back boats of asylum seekers, endangering passengers in the process.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Turkey hosts nearly 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world.

*Writing by Merve Berker​​​​​​​

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