Turkey rescued 38 asylum seekers who were pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean Sea, security sources said on Friday.

The asylum seekers were rescued from a rubber boat off the coast of Ayvalik in Turkey’s western Balikesir province, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The group, including women and children, was brought to the Cunda Island, it said.

Food, drinks and medical supplies were provided to asylum seekers, it added.

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.

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 Gozde Bayar

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