Turkey rescued as many as 125 irregular migrants in the Aegean Sea after they were pushed back by Greek authorities, the Turkish Coast Guard Command said on Wednesday.
In a statement on its website, the Turkish Coast Guard said that on Oct. 8 and Oct. 11, Turkish forces rescued a total of 70 people riding in two rubber boats off Seferihisar District of Izmir province, which were pushed into Turkish territorial waters by the Greek authorities.
Separately, on Oct. 11, the teams rescued 30 more irregular migrants in rubber boats off Dikili district of Izmir, which were pushed into Turkish territorial waters by Greece.
They were transferred to the provincial migration office.
Meanwhile, in Mugla province, Turkey rescued a total of 25 irregular migrants in the Aegean Sea after they were pushed back by the Greek authorities, a separate statement by the Turkish Coast Guard Command said, adding rescue teams arrived in the region after information that a group of irregular immigrants was sailing on a rubber boat off the Bozburun District.
A total of 21 Syrians, three Palestinians, and one Egyptian national, including women and children, were among those rescued.
Last week, the EU expressed concerns over migrant pushbacks, saying such incidents damage the bloc’s reputation.
“Some of these reports are shocking and I'm extremely concerned,” Ylva Johansson, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, told reporters about a joint investigation by media outlets Der Spiegel, ARD, and Liberation.
The investigation unearthed evidence that Greek, Croatian, and Romanian authorities have been violently pushing back asylum seekers crossing the bloc’s external borders.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Source: Anadolu Agency