Turkey rescued 65 migrants and refugees who sought help in the Aegean Sea, but were pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard into Turkish territorial waters, security sources said Wednesday.
The migrants, who were on two life rafts, were saved by the Turkish Coast Guard off Foça district in Izmir province in western Turkey, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Acting on a tip, Turkish rescue teams were sent to a region off the Foça district.
The naval force saved the asylum seekers and disembarked them.
In the Dikili district, police saved another 29 migrants and refugees on June 22, Ihlas News Agency (IHA) reported.
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
The country earlier this year opened its gates for irregular migrants wanting to cross to Europe, accusing the EU of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.
Turkey currently hosts over 3.7 million Syrians, making it the world's top refugee-hosting country.
Turkish officials said earlier last month that the Greek Coast Guard had attempted to sink boats carrying migrants and refugees toward the Greek islands, opening fire and hitting the people on the boats with long sticks.
Greece is struggling to cope with illegal immigration from Turkey, both at the land border and on the Greek islands, that spiked before the country's virus outbreak.
Thousands of Europe-bound migrants and asylum-seekers flocked to the Turkish-Greek border late February and March after the Turkish government said it would no longer prevent migrants from trying to cross over to Greece.
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