Turkey rescues 125 migrants ‘pushed back’ by Greece


Turkey rescued 125 migrants in separate operations in the Aegean Sea after they were “pushed back” by Greek authorities, the country’s Coast Guard Command said.

The security forces rescued 37 migrants on October 8 off the Seferihisar district of Izmir Province and 33 others in the same region on Monday after they were “pushed into Turkish territorial waters by Greece”, Xinhua news agency quoted the Command as saying on Wednesday.

In a separate operation on Monday, 30 more migrants were rescued in rubber boats off the Dikili district of Izmir after they were pushed into Turkish territorial waters by the Greek authorities, it added.

Turkey also rescued 25 migrants, including 21 Syrians, three Palestinians and one Egyptian, on a rubber boat off the Bozburun district of the southwestern province of Mugla.

According to the International Organization of Migration (IOM), Turkey hosts one of the largest migrant populations in the world.

The number of migrants and refugees residing in Turkey now stands at 3.9 million, over 90 per cent of whom are Syrian and came to Turkey as a result of ongoing conflict in Syria.

Some 3.6 million Syrians have registered for Temporary Protection in Turkey, along with other migrants made up of differing nationalities seeking asylum, international protection or refugee status.

Though the number of migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey has fallen in the past two years since a peak in 2015 of over 850,000 to 186,786 in 2017, figures remain substantial, the IOM said.

Turkey is still facing some of the biggest challenges in terms of irregular migration by land and sea.