Turkey rescued at least 69 migrants and refugees whose boats were pushed back by the Greek coast guard into Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea, authorities said Tuesday.
The Turkish Coast Guard Command said in a statement that a team was dispatched to an area off Çeşme in western Izmir province after learning of a group of migrants who were stranded on a dinghy.
Some 40 of them were taken to the shore, according to the statement.
Turkish teams rescued 29 others from two dinghies off Izmir's Foça district.
After routine checks, the asylum-seekers were taken to the provincial migration authority.
Turkey and Greece have been a key transit point for asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution. Ankara already hosts nearly 4 million Syrian migrants, more than any other country in the world, and says it cannot handle another wave.
Turkey earlier this year opened its gates for irregular migrants wanting to cross to Europe, accusing the European Union of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal. Greece has been accused of mistreating and pushing back migrants from its borders in violation of international law.
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