Security forces rescue over 300 asylum seekers in Turkey’s east, Aegean Sea

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At least 210 irregular migrants were held in eastern Turkey, while over 100 others were rescued along the country’s western coastline, officials and sources said.

As part of a probe into migrant smuggling and human trafficking, police teams conducted an operation in Van province where they found the migrants inside a lorry, police said.

At least 170 Afghans, 26 Pakistanis, nine Iraqis, four Bangladeshis and one Uzbek, including 18 children and 11 women, were held by the security teams.

It was stated that 18 of the migrants in the truck were children.

The truck driver, identified by the initials E.K., was also rounded up.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s coast guard rescued over 100 asylum seekers pushed back to Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea by Greek coast guard boats, security sources said.

After being rescued off the coast of Marmaris in southwestern Muğla province, 23 asylum seekers were taken to nearby ports, said the sources.

Nineteen of the asylum seekers were Turkish citizens and legal action against them began.

Also, a total of 83 foreign asylum seekers in three life boats were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard off the coast of Bodrum in Muğla, said a security source.

The asylum seekers had been driven back from Greek waters while trying to reach Europe.

Separately, security forces in Aydın province held 30 asylum seekers trying to go abroad, according to security sources.

The Coast Guard Command stopped a rubber boat off Tekağaç in Didim district, said the sources.

The asylum seekers, including Syrian and Afghan nationals, were sent to provincial migra-tion authorities.

Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Hurriyet Daily News

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