Turkey rescues 97 asylum seekers off western coast
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The asylum seekers were in three rubber boats that were punctured Thursday by the Greek Coast Guard, Turkish authorities said in a tweet.
Although Ankara is not preventing asylum seekers from leaving Turkey, crossings the Aegean Sea is not allowed due to safety hazards, it added.
As the asylum seekers are pushed back toward Turkey, their boats were punctured or engines disconnected by Greek authorities, leaving them stranded in the middle of the sea, the Turkish Coast Guard added.
Meanwhile, 41 asylum seekers trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos from Turkey’s western province of Canakkale were rerouted to the land border.
The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 3,425 asylum seekers in 2019 and 1,707 more have been rescued since the beginning of 2020.