Turkey, Europe

Turkey rescues 250 asylum seekers in Aegean Sea

Asylum seekers were pushed back by Greek coastal authorities in territorial waters off 4 provinces

Halil Fidan   | 27.04.2021
Turkey rescues 250 asylum seekers in Aegean Sea

MUGLA/CANAKKALE/BALIKESIR/IZMIR, Turkey

Turkey rescued 250 asylum seekers Monday in the Aegean Sea who were pushed back by Greek coastal authorities into Turkish territorial waters, according to security officials. 

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued eight asylum seekers off the coast of Marmaris district in southwestern Mugla province.

Another 44 asylum seekers were rescued in a plastic boat off the coast of northwestern Canakkale province.

In a separate operation, Turkey rescued 61 asylum seekers off the coast of northwestern Balikesir province while they were attempting to reach Lesbos Island in a plastic boat.

Meanwhile, in three different operations, a total of 137 asylum seekers were rescued by Turkish coastal authorities off the coast of western Izmir province.

After a tip that there was a group of asylum seekers in three rubber boats off Denizkoy in Dikili district, a Coast Guard Command boat was dispatched to the area.

Some 86 asylum seekers in rubber dinghies were brought ashore.

Another 23 asylum seekers in a rubber boat which was pushed back by Greek Coast Guard teams were rescued off Aslan Cape in Foca County.

Coast Guard command teams also disembarked 28 asylum seekers in a rubber boat off Cape Karaabdullah in Cesme district.

The asylum seekers, including women and children, were taken to the provincial migration authority after routine checks.

Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.

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.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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