Turkey rescued a total of 87 asylum seekers who were illegally pushed back by Greece to Turkish waters, a source said on Sunday.
In the first incident, Turkish teams rescued 63 asylum seekers. They were rescued at four different locations off the coast of Cesme district in the western Izmir province, said the source, who requested anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The asylum seekers were transferred to the local migration office, the source added.
Separately, the district governorship in Seferihisar, Izmir said coast guards rescued at least 24 asylum seekers in a rubber boat off Doganbey.
Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
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 already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any country in the world, and is taking new security measures on its borders to humanely prevent a fresh influx of migrants.