Turkey rescued 115 asylum-seekers Wednesday from the Aegean Sea who were illegally pushed back by Greece into Turkish waters.
The asylum-seekers included 77 irregular migrants who were pushed back, and 38 others in two separate boats which were detected by mobile radar off the coast of the Izmir, Aydın, and Muğla provinces, according to the Turkish Coast Guard Command statement.
All of the asylum-seekers were taken to provincial migration offices.
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 sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard Command has rescued thousands of others.
Turkey and Greece have been 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 European Union of turning a blind eye to this blatant abuse of human rights.
Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements, which dictate that people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership in a social or political group.
Last month, a joint investigation by leading European media outlets revealed that pushback operations by security forces had become systematic practices in violation of EU and international humanitarian law.
German weekly Der Spiegel also published videos on its website showing masked Greek officers intercepting and disabling refugee boats in the Aegean Sea, endangering the lives of vulnerable asylum-seekers.
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