The coast guard rescued 17 asylum-seekers after Greek authorities pushed them back to Turkish territorial waters near the Dikili district in the western province of Izmir on Sunday.
Turkish units detected the group in a rubber boat off the coast of the Bademli district. The boat was reportedly pushed back by Greek elements, according to a statement by the Coast Guard Command of Izmir.
The asylum-seekers were referred to the provincial migration office.
Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal practice of pushing back asylum-seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for asylum-seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
The Turkish coast guard rescued 12,655 people from the seas in 2020, 11,493 of whom were irregular migrants.
Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal practice of pushing back asylum-seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children, yet similar incidents keep occurring.
Numerous reports by journalists, researchers and witnesses have cataloged the way in which migrants and asylum-seekers have been forced back across the border to Turkey or left stranded in the Aegean Sea without aid by the Greek coast guard, despite the conservative government's denials in Athens.
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.
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