32 Turks rescued in Greek waters, reportedly seeking asylum
Turkish warship and coast guard helicopter patrol Aegean Sea between Turkish coast and Greece's Lesbos island (AFP/file photo)
Thirty-two Turkish nationals, reportedly opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, were rescued by a patrol boat in the Aegean Sea, the Greek coastguard said on Saturday.
The group was spotted in a rubber dinghy off the Greek island of Oinousses, early Friday, the coastguard told AFP.
Thirty-two Turkish nationals, reportedly opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, were rescued by a patrol boat in the Aegean Sea, the Greek coastguard said #Greece#Turkeyhttps://t.co/79eVETCeCm
— Randa HABIB (@RandaHabib) December 16, 2017
Greek media said the 32 Turks are opponents of Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) and would be seeking asylum in Greece. The reports have not been confirmed by Greek authorities.
They were taken to the island of Chios, where migrants and refugees crossing the area, often from Turkey, are registered and identified.
A man believed to be a smuggler who was also onboard the boat was arrested by police.
Erdogan last month made the first visit by a Turkish head of state to its neighbour and sometimes ally Greece in 65 years.
Turkey is unhappy that Greece has failed to extradite suspects wanted over the 2016 failed coup, notably eight officers who escaped by helicopter on the putsch night.
However, the two countries are cooperating on the migrant crisis, after a deal between Turkey and the EU that has significantly stemmed the flow of people to Europe.
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