The Turkish coast guard saved 11 asylum-seekers that were pushed back illegally by Greece into Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea, security sources said Wednesday.
Turkish coast guard units launched a rescue mission after learning that a group of asylum-seekers had been found in a rubber boat off Bodrum in Turkey's western Muğla province, Turkish sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, told Anadolu Agency (AA).
All 11 of them were taken safely to land and then to the provincial migration office, the sources added.
In another rescue effort, the Turkish coast guard units saved five asylum-seekers off Ayvacık district in Çanakkale province who were also pushed back by Greek authorities.
Several rights groups and Turkey have accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. They also accuse the European Union of turning a blind eye to what they say is a blatant abuse of human rights.
Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements that outline 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.
Most recently, the Hellenic Coast Guard attempted to set an asylum-seeker on fire, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated as Athens’ rights violations and attacks on migrants and asylum-seekers continue.
"Greek Law Enfor. Agencies seek to burn people, pouring gasoline on them, which indicates a massacre under the watch of Europe," Soylu said last week on Twitter.
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