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Turkey holds 62, rescues 29 asylum seekers

Anadolu Agency TURKEY
Published May 04,2021

The Turkish Coast Guard held 62 asylum seekers and rescued another 29 off the country's Aegean coast after they were illegally pushed back by Greek forces, Turkish security sources said on Monday.

A sailboat with a group of asylum seekers was stopped by crews off the coast of Urla in Turkey's western Izmir province, according to a statement by coastal authorities.

Two suspects on the boat were identified as having allegedly organized the crossing with 62 asylum seekers.

The asylum seekers were taken to a repatriation center, while the two suspects were detained.

Separately, Turkish Coast Guard Command teams found a group of asylum seekers on a boat off Cape Deveboynu in the country's northwestern Canakkale province.

The 29 asylum seekers were rescued after being pushed by Greek Coast Guard elements into Turkish territorial waters.

After routine procedures, the asylum seekers were taken to a repatriation 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.

Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal pushback practice, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.