A total of 231 asylum seekers were rescued in the Aegean Sea in seven operations after they were pushed back by Greece into Turkish territorial waters, Turkey’s Coast Guard Command said late Friday.

The command said the Greek Coast Guard dumped asylum seekers into the water near the island of Lesbos between 3.30 a.m. (0030GMT) and 12.33 p.m. (0933GMT) local time.

They were saved from rubber boats off Izmir, Balikesir and Canakkale provinces, it added.

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

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.

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