Turkey rescues 74 asylum seekers in Aegean
Turkey on Wednesday rescued 74 asylum seekers, who were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters, according to security sources.
In a rescue operation, the Turkish Coast Guard rescued the asylum seekers, who set off for the Greek island of Lesbos, off the coast of Ayvalık district in the northwestern Turkish province of Balıkesir.
They were on board two rubber boats that were pushed back 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 to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Earlier this year, Turkey opened its gates for irregular migrants wanting to cross to Europe, accusing the EU of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.
Turkey has decried Greece's illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying that in addition to breaking the law, it endangers the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.