IZMIR, Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 58 asylum seekers, who were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters, security sources said on Wednesday.

At first, 49 asylum seekers in two rubber rafts were rescued off the coast of Dikili District in Turkey’s western province of Izmir.

Later, the Turkish Coast Guard rescued nine more people off the coast of the Madra Stream.

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

Turkey currently hosts over 3.7 million Syrians, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.

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