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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Greece prevents entry of 590 migrants from Turkey

ATHENS ( Associated Press) — Greece’s coast guard on Monday prevented at least 590 migrants from illegally entering the country’s waters in the Aegean Sea from Turkey aboard various vessels, authorities said.

In a statement, the Coast Guard said the migrants were believed to be aboard five sailing boats and four inflatable rafts that were detected and turned back before they reached territorial waters in a series of incidents.

The larger vessels are believed to have planned to pass through Greece to reach Italy, another European Union member, following what has become a major smuggling route in recent years, the statement added.

According to the statement, the Turkish authorities were given notice to collect the passengers from the boats, since they had departed from the Turkish coast.

Three of the boats returned to the Turkish coast of their own free will, and Turkish patrols returned the rest of the migrants to the country.

Greece continues to be an important destination for people fleeing conflict or poverty and seeking a better life in the European Union.

In recent years, the tightening of surveillance on Greece’s maritime border with regional rival Turkey has drastically reduced the numbers, which had reached a record of close to one million people in 2015.

Human rights groups and Turkish authorities have repeatedly accused Greek officials of illegally returning asylum seekers who had already managed to enter Greece to Turkey, charges Athens denies.

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