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Turkey Says Saved Refugees Greek Forces Pushed Back at Sea

ANKARA – Repeating what’s become a mantra of the same complaint, Turkey’s Coast Guard forces said it they rescued refugees in the Aegean Sea – which Turkey allowed human traffickers to send – claiming they were pushed back by Greek patrols.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said that a Turkish Naval vessel in the Mycale Strait between the Greek island of Samos and Turkey’s nearby coast detected that “irregular migrants in two life rafts were pushed into Turkish territorial waters by the Greek coast guard boat LS-930, and at the same time a violation of territorial waters was made.”

The ministry said it immediately reported the pushback to Turkey’s Coast Guard and what it said was a territorial water violation only 1.5 kilometers (.62 miles) from Turkey’s Coast, Turkey claiming Greek waters too.

Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece for pushbacks which the New Democracy government said never happened despite major media reports and those from investigative journalists.

Turkey never mentions it allows human smugglers to keep operating in violation of an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union under which some 4.4 million refugees who went to Turkey fleeing war, strife and economic hardship in their homelands are supposed to be contained.

The Turkish claims were reported by the pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah that is essentially a propaganda mouthpiece for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s repressive administration.

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