By Burak Akay, Sabri Kesen and Zeynep Celikkol
CANAKKALE/MUGLA/IZMIR, Türkiye (AA) - The Turkish Coast Guard said it rescued 82 irregular migrants Thursday after Greek authorities pushed them into Turkish territorial waters.
Teams were dispatched off the coast of Datca district in western Mugla province after the agency received information that there were irregular migrants in rubber boats. A total of 27 people were rescued, it said.
In a separate operation, Coast Guard units rescued 12 irregular migrants off the coast of Ayvacik in northwestern Canakkale province after they were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters.
And Coast Guard teams rescued 43 irregular migrants in two rubber boats off the coast of the Seferihisar district of Izmir province.
All of the migrants were transported to provincial migration offices.
Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants wanting to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Human rights groups and media outlets have frequently reported on illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches by Greek authorities.
Ankara and global rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back irregular migrants, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.