Turkey, Europe

Turkey rescues 34 asylum seekers from boats in Aegean

Country is key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives

Erdoğan Çağatay Zontur   | 13.03.2020
Turkey rescues 34 asylum seekers from boats in Aegean

IZMIR, Turkey 

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 34 asylum seekers off the Aegean coast, security sources said Friday.   

The Turkish team rescued the group of people, who were in rubber boats which had been driven to Turkish territorial waters by the Greek Coast Guard, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media. 

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. 

Late last month, Turkey announced it would no longer stop asylum seekers from reaching Europe via land, while banning boat crossings as too dangerous, accusing the EU of failing to keep promises under the 2016 migrant deal. 

Ankara also warned that due to incessant attacks on civilians in Idlib, Syria, a million refugees were moving toward Turkey’s borders. 

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

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur in Ankara

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