Turkey rescues 62 refugees pushed back by Greece

Turkey rescued at least 62 asylum-seekers Thursday from the northern Aegean Sea, security sources said.

In the first incident, 35 asylum-seekers who were illegally pushed back by the Greek coast guard into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean were rescued from a rubber boat off the coast of Ayvalık in Turkey’s northwestern Balıkesir province, the Turkish Coast Guard Command said in a statement.

The group, including women and children, was brought to Alibey Island, also known as Cunda, it said.

Food, drinks and medical supplies were provided to the asylum-seekers, the statement added.

In the second incident, which took place off the coast of Ayvalık as well, 27 asylum-seekers whose boat broke down while trying to sail to the Greek island of Mytilene were rescued by Turkish coast guard teams.

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.

Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum-seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.