MUGLA, Turkey 

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued nine asylum seekers Monday who were pushed back by Greek coastal authorities into Turkish waters off the Aegean coast, according to security sources. 

The coast guard team was dispatched to the area off the coast of Datca district in southwestern Mugla province after receiving information that the asylum seekers were stranded on a dinghy.

They were brought to the port and transferred 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.

The country opened its gates earlier this year to asylum seekers seeking to cross to Europe, accusing the European Union of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

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