IZMIR, Turkey

Turkey rescued 35 asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea on Friday after they were illegally pushed back by Greek authorities into Turkish territorial waters, according to a security source.

Acting on a tip, the Turkish Coast Guard rescued 12 asylum seekers from a rubber boat off the coast of Dikili in western Izmir province, said the source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In another operation, authorities rescued 23 others from a rubber boat and took them to the coast.

After routine checks, they were taken to the provincial migration authority.

Turkey has 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.

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.​​​​​​​

*Writing by Sena Guler

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