More than 15,000 irregular migrants pushed back by Greece into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean Sea were rescued by Turkish Coast Guard Command units in 2021, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.
According to the data provided by the coast guard, between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021, 15,174 irregular migrants pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greek elements were disembarked.
A total of 6,595 irregular migrants were rescued in Izmir, 2,945 in Mugla, 2,909 in Aydin, 1,570 in Canakkale, 1,126 in Balikesir and 29 in Antalya.
In addition, the dead bodies of 15 irregular migrants were found last year.
At least 629 cases of migrants being illegally pushed back around the Greek Aegean islands were reported in 2021, the Aegean Boat Report, which monitors arrivals and rights abuses in the Aegean, also said earlier this month.
According to the Norwegian nongovernmental organization (NGO), which has monitored and reported on issues related to the movement of people in the Aegean Sea since March 2020, with a focus on actual incidents of people crossing the sea and governments’ responses, almost 26,000 people have been pushed back by the Greek government in Aegean waters.
Setting out to start a new life, the irregular migrants' journey of hope often ends in the blue waters of the Aegean Sea or turns into a nightmare due to the inhumane practices of Greek coast guard units. 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 accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations while denying migrants access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. Turkey has also accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to this blatant abuse of human rights.