Turkey rescued 46 asylum seekers Wednesday in the Aegean Sea who were pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard into Turkish territorial waters, according to a security source.
A total of 40 asylum seekers were rescued from a rubber boat off the coast of Ayvalik in Turkey’s northwestern Balikesir province, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Authorities brought the group to Cunda Island, where they were provided with food, clothing and medical supplies.
In another incident off the coast of Marmaris in Turkey’s southwestern Mugla province, six asylum seekers who were pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean Sea were rescued.
They were transferred to a local coast guard command, another source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The asylum seekers were later transferred to the provincial repatriation center.
Separately, acting on a tip-off, the Turkish Coast Guard Command dispatched a boat off the coast of Bodrum in southwestern Mugla province after learning that an asylum seeker was stranded on a lifeboat, security sources said.
The asylum seeker was taken to the shore and later referred to the provincial migration office.
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 and human rights groups have 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.
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