Twenty-two irregular migrants who were drifting in a dinghy off western Izmir province’s Menderes district were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard Command.
According to a statement by the coast guard on Tuesday, the passengers lost control of the drifting dinghy due to an engine problem.
The migrants were referred to provincial migration offices and the suspected human traffickers were arrested.
The tribulations of migrants trying to reach Europe continue, especially with Greece pursuing its violent pushback policies.
Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal practice of pushing back asylum-seekers, stating it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
Turkey's five Aegean provinces – Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Izmir, Muğla and Aydın – are prime spots for refugees seeking to leave Turkey for the European Union, with Greek islands within sight of the Turkish coast.
In recent years, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean to reach Northern and Western Europe in search of a better life.
Hundreds of people have died at sea as many boats carrying refugees often sink or capsize. The Turkish Coast Guard Command has rescued thousands of others.
Turkey and Greece are key transit points for migrants looking to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives. Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks, summary deportations and denying migrants access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. Ankara also accuses the EU of turning a blind eye to this blatant abuse of human rights.
Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements that say people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life or safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership of a social or political group.
Meanwhile, Greece said it will renew a request for European Union funds in 2022 to extend a border wall along its frontier with Turkey and promised to expand a powerful surveillance network aimed at stopping migrants entering the country.
A public order minister, Takis Theodorikakos, told a parliamentary committee that Greece expects certain countries bordering the EU will continue to exploit migration to exert political pressure on member states.
Greece’s center-right government has toughened the country’s migration policy and recently completed a 26-kilometer (16-mile) steel border wall that extends the barrier to 38 kilometers.
The minister stated that a control center that will process data from newly constructed surveillance towers equipped with long-range cameras and multiple sensors will come into operation in early 2022.
“This automated system gives us many operational advantages and helps us monitor the entire border region,” the minister said.
So far, the wall and detection network helped prevent more than 143,000 illegal crossing attempts on the Greek-Turkish land border, he said, over eight months this year through October – a 45% increase from a year earlier.
The government denies repeated allegations by human rights and migrant advocacy groups that the border interceptions include illegal summary deportations known as pushbacks.