Turkish Coast Guard rescues over 40 irregular migrants who were illegally pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greek authorities.
Türkiye rescued over 40 irregular migrants and recovered the dead bodies of two, including a woman who was reportedly five-month pregnant, after Greek authorities illegally pushed them back into Turkish territorial waters, according to the Turkish Coast Guard Command.
Coast guard teams were dispatched off the coast of Kusadasi in the Aegean Aydin province after they learned there were irregular migrants in an inflatable boat on Wednesday.
A total of 43 people who were pushed back by Greek authorities were rescued, it said in a statement.
READ MORE: Swiss media reports on illegal Greek pushbacks of migrants
'We could have all died'
One of the rescued irregular migrants said that they set sail late Tuesday and travelled for over four hours.
Another migrant said Greek Coast Guard teams dismantled the engine of their boat and threw it into the sea. "There were high waves and storms. They were constantly creating waves with their boats.”
Later, he said another Greek Coast Guard ship came and “we thought they would act better, but they treated us worse. They almost ran over us in that big ship. We could hardly hold onto the boat, women were in danger of falling into the water.”
He stressed there were two babies in the boat, including one just three months old and another 18 months old, adding: "We could have all died. A friend of mine hasn't heard from his wife who is 5 months pregnant, he's very upset."
An investigation of the incident continues.
Human rights groups and media outlets have frequently reported on illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches by Greek authorities.
Türkiye 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.
READ MORE: Türkiye saves over 180 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushbacks