Turkey, Europe

Turkey rescues 112 asylum seekers pushed back by Greece

Coast guard units rescue migrants abandoned by Greek authorities in Turkish territorial waters

Halil Fidan, Murat Yuksel and Ali Balli   | 08.12.2020
Turkey rescues 112 asylum seekers pushed back by Greece

IZMIR/CANAKKALE/MUGLA, Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued at least 112 asylum seekers who were pushed into Turkish territorial waters off the Aegean coast by Greek coastal authorities, security sources said Wednesday.

The Turkish Coast Guard said in a statement that a team was dispatched to an area off Cesme in western Izmir province after learning of a group of asylum seekers stranded on a dinghy. 

A total of 26 asylum seekers were taken to the shore, according to the statement.

Separately, another Turkish Coast Guard team was dispatched off the coast of Ayvacik in northwestern Canakkale province and rescued at least 22 asylum seekers. 

Additionally, Turkish Coast Guard personnel in western Mugla province rescued 11 asylum seekers.

In Izmir province, Turkish Coastal Guard teams were dispatched to an area off Dikili and rescued at least 53 asylum seekers.

After routine checks, the asylum seekers were taken to the provincial migration authority.

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 its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

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

*Writing by Merve Aydogan and Burak Dag in Ankara

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