Turkish coast guard units have rescued 131 irregular migrants pushed into Turkish waters by the Greek coast guard in the Aegean Sea, a statement said Tuesday.
The rescue operations took place over the past three days off Izmir’s Foça and Dikili districts, the Turkish Coast Guard Command said.
The incident in Dikili involved a rubber boat with 102 irregular migrants off Denizköy, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, the incident in Foça involved 29 migrants in two lifeboats pushed into Turkish waters by Greece.
The irregular migrants were transferred to the local migration authority after they were rescued.
Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures – which is a violation of international law – and the European Union of turning a blind eye to what it says is a 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.
On March 3, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that Greece's practice of pushing irregular migrants back to Turkey amounts to a clear violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and European Union law.
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