IZMIR, Turkey 

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 26 asylum seekers who were pushed back by Greek coastal authorities into Turkish territorial waters off the Aegean coast, a security source said on Tuesday.

A coast guard team was dispatched off the coast of Kusadasi in Aydin province on a tip-off that the asylum seekers were stranded on a lifeboat, said the source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The asylum seekers, who are all foreign nationals, were taken to the shore, the source added.

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

Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants wanting to reach Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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