MUGLA, Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard on Thursday rescued 37 asylum seekers who had been pushed back by Greek coastal authorities into Turkish territorial waters off the Aegean coast, according to security sources.

Coast guards were dispatched to the area after the asylum seekers asked for rescue in the Marmaris district of Mugla.

A total of 37 people, including women and children, were brought to the shore on the coast guard boat.

They were later 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 earlier this year opened its gates to irregular migrants wanting to cross to Europe, accusing the EU of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

Turkey hosts nearly 4 million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.

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