MUGLA, Turkey 

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 83 asylum seekers Tuesday who were pushed into Turkish territorial waters off the Aegean coast by Greek coastal authorities, according to security sources. 

The coast guard was dispatched to the area after asylum seekers asked to be rescued off the coast of Datca district in Turkey’s southwestern province of Mugla.

They were in a wooden boat and a life raft and were turned back by the Greek coast guard off the Bozburun Peninsula in Turkey’s southwestern coast.

They were moved to the coast guard boat, and after reaching shore, were processed and transferred to the provincial migration office.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Earlier this year, Turkey opened its gates to irregular migrants, accusing the EU of failing to keep promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

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

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara

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