IZMIR, Turkey

Turkish coast guard teams rescued on Tuesday as many as 76 asylum seekers who were pushed back by Greek authorities into Turkish territorial waters.

Acting on a tip off, the teams rescued 30 asylum seekers from rubber and life boats off the coast of Dikili district in western Izmir province, according to a statement by the Turkish Coast Guard Command.

Another coast guard team was dispatched off Kusadasi district in Aydin province after learning that 46 asylum seekers were stranded on a rubber boat. They were later taken to the provincial migration office.

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 and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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