Turkey rescues 30 asylum seekers in Aegean Sea

Asylum seekers rescued by Turkish coast guard after being pushed back by Greek authorities

Halil Sahin   | 22.12.2020
Turkey rescues 30 asylum seekers in Aegean Sea File Photo

IZMIR, Turkey 

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued a total of 30 asylum seekers who were pushed back by Greek coastal authorities into Turkish territorial waters off the Aegean coast, security sources said on Tuesday. 

A coast guard team was dispatched off the coast of Kusadasi in Aydin province on a tip-off that 26 asylum seekers were stranded on a lifeboat, said a source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media. 

The asylum seekers, all foreign nationals, were taken to the shore, the source added.

Separately, another coast guard team was dispatched to Bozburun in the Mugla province after getting information about four asylum seekers stranded on a lifeboat.

They were also pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean.

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

124 irregular asylum seekers held in Izmir 

The local gendarmerie forces held 124 asylum seekers in the Aegean Izmir province.

Acting on a tip-off, gendarmerie forces raided a country cottage in the Torbali district.

Among the asylum seekers were 57 Iraqi, 51 Syrian, 12 Iranian, and four Afghan nationals.

Turkish security forces also detained three suspected human traffickers.

Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants wanting to reach Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution. 

*Writing by Gozde Bayar and Burak Dag in Ankara

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