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Turkish coast guard rescues 26 migrants pushed back by Greece

The Turkish coast guard on Sunday rescued 26 irregular migrants illegally pushed back by Greek forces, according to a Turkish security source.

After learning that a boat carrying a group of irregular migrants was sailing near the village of Kızılağaç on the Datça peninsula, in waters off the western Muğla province, the regional coast guard command deployed teams to the location, added the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media

Arriving at the location, coast guard teams rescued the irregular migrants, the source said.

Two Turkish nationals who were attempting flee to Greece were also held, said the source.

Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements, which say people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership in a social or political group.

Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants aiming to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives. Turkey has also accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. It also accuses the EU of turning a blind eye to what it says is a blatant abuse of human rights.

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