By Haydar Toprakci
IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – At least 33 asylum seekers were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard off the country's western coast on Tuesday.
The Coast Guard Command said on its website that the group of asylum seekers traveling in a rubber boat had been pushed back to Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea by Greek authorities.
Acting on a tip, a rescue vessel was sent to the group and converged on it off the Dikili district of Izmir province.
The asylum seekers were transferred to the provincial migration office after reaching shore.
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 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.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar