IZMIR, Turkey 

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued a total of 30 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 26 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, all foreign nationals, were taken to the shore, the source added. 

Separately, another coast guard team was dispatched to Bozburun in the Mugla province after getting information about four asylum seekers stranded on a lifeboat.

They were also pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean.

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 in Ankara

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