Border pushbacks are illegal under international refugee treaties. Greece and EU’s border and coast guard agency Frontex have repeatedly been accused of pushbacks or complicity in them. They deny using such methods.

Migrants board a Turkish coast guard boat following a failed attempt to cross to the Greek island of Lesbos, on the waters of the North Aegean Sea, off the shores of Canakkale, Turkey, March 6, 2020.
Migrants board a Turkish coast guard boat following a failed attempt to cross to the Greek island of Lesbos, on the waters of the North Aegean Sea, off the shores of Canakkale, Turkey, March 6, 2020. (AP)

Turkey has rescued 250 asylum seekers pushed back by Greek coastal authorities in the Aegean Sea into Turkish waters.

The asylum seekers, including women and children, were taken to the provincial migration authority after routine checks, offcials said on Monday.

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued eight asylum seekers off the coast of Marmaris district in southwestern Mugla province.

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Another 44 asylum seekers were rescued in a plastic boat off the coast of northwestern Canakkale province.

In a separate operation, Turkey rescued 61 asylum seekers off the coast of northwestern Balikesir province while they were attempting to reach Lesbos Island in a plastic boat.

Meanwhile, in three different operations, a total of 137 asylum seekers were rescued by Turkish coastal authorities off the coast of western Izmir province.

After a tip that there was a group of asylum seekers in three rubber boats off Denizkoy in Dikili district, a Coast Guard Command boat was dispatched to the area.

Some 86 asylum seekers in rubber dinghies were brought ashore.

Another 23 asylum seekers in a rubber boat which was pushed back by Greek Coast Guard teams were rescued off Aslan Cape in Foca County.

Coast Guard command teams also disembarked 28 asylum seekers in a rubber boat off Cape Karaabdullah in Cesme district.

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Turkey has 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.

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.

Source: AA