MUGLA, Turkey

Turkey rescued 12 asylum seekers who were pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard into Turkish territorial waters in the southern Aegean, a security source said on Monday.

The asylum seekers were rescued from a dinghy off Marmaris in Turkey’s southwest Mugla province, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

After routine checks, the asylum seekers were sent to the provincial migration authority.

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.

In early 2020 Turkey opened its gates to irregular migrants seeking to reach Europe, accusing the EU of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

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

​​​​​​​*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk in Ankara

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