Turkey rescues 146 asylum seekers pushed back by Greece
Rescue operations carried out by coast guard teams in Mugla, Aydin provinces
The Turkish Coast Guard rescued a total of 146 asylum seekers who were pushed back by Greek authorities, according to a Turkish security source on Monday.
Acting on a tip-off, the regional coast guard command sent teams to rescue 77 asylum seekers stranded on life boats and dinghy off the coast of the Marmaris district in Turkey's province of Mugla, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Separately, 35 more irregular migrants were rescued off the coast of Dalaman, also in Mugla. Acting on a tip that a rubber boat carrying irregular migrants was swept away due to engine failure, coast guard teams rescued the migrants and brought them ashore.
Turkish Coast Guard teams also rescued 26 asylum seekers off the coast of Kusadasi in the western province of Aydin.
Another group of eight asylum seekers in a life boat were rescued off the coast of Datca in Mugla, said a security source.
All of the irregular migrants were taken to the provincial migration center.
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.
It hosts nearly 4 million refugees, including over 3.6 million Syrians -- more than any other country in the world.
Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, which is also condemned by international human rights groups, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
* Writing by Gozde BayarAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.