Turkish coast guard units rescued a total of 79 asylum seekers from the Aegean Sea off the coast of the Izmir province, said the Turkish Coast Guard Command on Saturday.
The asylum seekers include 30 irregular migrants who were illegally pushed back by Greece into Turkish waters, three migrants thrown into the sea by Greece and 46 irregular migrants in two inflatable boats suffering engine failure, the statement read.
All of the asylum seekers were taken to provincial migration offices.
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 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 sank or capsized. 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 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.