Turkey on Tuesday rescued 44 migrants who were pushed back by the Greek coast guard into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean Sea, according to security sources.
Upon receiving intelligence that there were scores of migrants in a dinghy off the coast of Dikili in the Izmir province, the Turkish coast guard launched an operation and rescued them.
After routine checks, the migrants were referred to the provincial migration authority.
Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants seeking to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Turkey earlier this year opened its gates to irregular migrants seeking to cross to Europe, accusing the European Union of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.
The country already hosts over 3.5 million Syrians, more than any other nation in the world, and officials say it cannot handle another wave.
So far this year, Turkey's Coast Guard Command has rescued thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers off the Aegean coast after they were forced by Greece into Turkish territorial waters.
Turkish officials have also said Greece's coast guard has attempted to sink boats carrying migrants and refugees toward Greek islands, opening fire and hitting people on board with long sticks.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) had voiced alarm over reports of pushbacks and collective expulsions of migrants, some with incidents of violence, from Greece.
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