The Turkish Coast Guard on Tuesday rescued 19 asylum seekers who were pushed back by Greek coastal authorities into Turkish waters off the Aegean coast, according to security sources.
A coast guard team was dispatched off the coast of Datca in the southwestern Mugla province after learning that the asylum seekers, including 17 Syrians, were stranded on a boat.
A suspected human smuggler on the boat was also arrested.
Separately, another 35 migrants were rescued off Mugla’s Marmaris district.
After routine checks, the asylum seekers were taken to the provincial migration authority.
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.
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