Turkish Coast Guard rescues 93 asylum seekers

Turkish Coast Guard rescues 93 asylum seekers

Turkish Coast Guard rescues 93 asylum seekers

The Turkish Coast Guard on June 13 rescued 93 asylum seekers who were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters, according to security sources. 

The asylum seekers of various nationalities initially set off for the Greek island of Lesbos (Midilli) from Ayvacık in Çanakkale, northwestern Turkey.

Their two rubber rafts 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.

381 asylums rescued in a week

In the meantime, the Turkish Coast Guard Command said on June 13 that Turkey rescued 381 asylum seekers over the past week.

Between June 5 and 11, a total of 381 asylum seekers were held or rescued in 14 incidents, the coast guard said on Twitter.

Three smugglers were also arrested, it added, sharing four photos from the rescue operations where the Turkish teams in full protective gear were seen taking asylum seekers’ temperature.

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 earlier this year 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 currently hosts nearly four million Syrians, making it the world's top refugee-hosting country.