Turkey's Coast Guard rescued 56 asylum seekers on Friday after they got into difficulties crossing the Aegean Sea, security sources and local media have reported. The asylum seekers were rescued off the coast of Dikili, a town in İzmir Province, said Hurriyet.
Ever since the start of Syria's civil war in 2011, Turkey has been one of the main routes for asylum seekers trying to reach Europe. After their rescue earlier today, the asylum seekers, including women and children, were taken to the provincial immigration office for legal procedures to take place.
This is the second major rescue of asylum seekers by the Turkish Coast Guard in recent weeks. Last month, officers rescued 60 people.
Applications for asylum in the European Union have dropped to their lowest level in over a decade since countries went into lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19. According to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), only 8,730 applications were made in May, an 87 per cent drop compared with January. This, confirmed the EASO, was the lowest level registered since at least 2008.
According to the Director General of Migration Management at the Interior Ministry in Ankara, Turkey hosts nearly 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.
A UN report on refugees and asylum seekers over the past decade revealed that 79.5 million people have been displaced globally in that period. Of these, 26m were refugees, 4.2m sought asylum and 45.7m remain internally displaced.