MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Turkey carried out on Friday seven separate operations in the Aegean Sea to rescue 231 asylum seekers who tried to reach Europe on rubber boats, media reported on Saturday.
The Turkish Coast Guard Command said that the rescued asylum seekers had been pushed back to the territorial waters of Turkey by Greece before being saved off the provinces of Izmir, Balikesir and Canakkale, the Anadolu news agency reported.
Turkey is one of the key transit countries for migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and African nations.
In 2016, Ankara signed an agreement with the European, under which the bloc paid over $6 billion to Turkey in return for the latter’s efforts to limit the flow of migrants. However, last year, Turkey introduced a ban on the return of migrants whose asylum applications were rejected in Greece.