By Suat Salgin and Mehmet Yavas
CANAKKALE/BALIKESİR, Turkey (AA) – Turkey rescued 105 asylum seekers off the country’s western coasts, Turkish Coast Guard Command said on Friday.
A total of 69 asylum seekers traveling in rubber boats were pushed back to Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea by Greek authorities.
Acting on a tip, a rescue vessel was sent and converged on the groups off the Ayvacik district of Canakkale province.
The asylum seekers were later transferred to the provincial repatriation center.
Separately, 36 asylum seekers were trying to reach Greece’s Lesbos Island by a rubber boat but had to request help from Turkish authorities when the boat springs a leak.
A Turkish Coast Guard boat responded to the call and conducted a rescue operation off the coast of Ayvalik in Balikesir province.
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.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan