Seventeen Turkish nationals who entered Greece illegally through the island of Rhodes have asked for asylum, saying their lives are in danger in Turkey, the gerçekgündem news website reported on Wednesday.

Three women, four children and 10 men, including five academics, were reported to Greek police by a person who saw them in the Glyfada area of the island early on Tuesday morning.

The asylum seekers were taken to the Rhodes Police Station after requesting protection.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement in June that the agency is deeply concerned by continued reports about alleged pushbacks and refoulement at the land border between Greece and Turkey.

“Such allegations of informal forced return have been recorded before, and it is of vital importance that the Greek authorities investigate them thoroughly,” said UNHCR Representative in Greece Philippe Leclerc.

“If confirmed, this is extremely worrying. The right to seek and enjoy asylum is a fundamental human right.”

“UNHCR has raised this issue with the Greek authorities, calling also for preventive measures against such practices, including clear rules of process at the border, independent monitoring mechanisms, and enhanced internal control structures,” the statement read.

(Turkish Minute)