BY ANADOLU AGENCY
ANKARA DEC 27, 2022 – DAILY SABAH
Türkiye rescued a total of 384 irregular migrants on Monday, including many who were illegally pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greek authorities, informed the Turkish Coast Guard.
In the first incident, teams were dispatched off the coast of Ayvacık in the northwestern Çanakkale province after the coast guard learned that there were irregular migrants on an inflatable boat. A total of 61 people, from various countries, who were pushed back by Greek authorities were rescued.
At least 39 migrants were rescued in another incident in the southwestern Aydın province’s Didim and Kuşadası districts, said a Turkish Coast Guard statement.
Meanwhile, in Türkiye’s Aegean province of Balıkesir, 73 irregular migrants who were pushed back by Greek forces were rescued.
According to a statement, Turkish Coast Guard teams were dispatched off the coast of Ayvalik, Balikesir following reports of irregular migrants on life rafts and inflatable boats, the agency said.
Separately, the Turkish Coast Guard held 147 irregular migrants while rescuing another 29 in Bodrum in southwestern Muğla province.
Meanwhile, 182 irregular migrants on an inflatable boat, pushed into Turkish territorial waters by Greek authorities, were also rescued off the coast of Izmir.
Another 21 irregular migrants trying to cross into Greece by illegal means were held by Turkish authorities.
All migrants were taken to provincial migration offices.
Following a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that a total of 256,000 irregular migrants were prevented from crossing into Türkiye in the past year.
Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular immigrants wanting to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution. Human rights groups and media outlets have frequently reported illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches by Greek authorities.
Türkiye and global rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back irregular immigrants, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.