2 Turks fly to Greece in small plane in apparent asylum claim

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Two Turkish men who apparently crossed the Aegean Sea in an ultralight plane to seek asylum in the European Union have been rescued after running out of fuel and abandoning their small plane off the coast of the Greek island of Evia, officials said on Monday.

The men, aged 32 and 31, were helped out of the water on Saturday by local fishermen and taken for first aid at a health center in Evia, just outside the center of mainland Greece. Greek media said the men identified themselves as political dissidents in Turkey and were considering seeking asylum. They were arrested for illegal entry.

A coastguard statement said they had told authorities they had departed near the coastal city of Izmir in western Turkey – about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from where they crashed – for Athens, from where they had planned to travel to other European countries. country.

Also on Monday, the Coast Guard said in a statement that 28 asylum seekers had been found off the island of Rhodes in the southeastern Aegean Sea after an aerial search and rescue operation and shipping triggered by a distress call on Sunday.

EU member Greece is a major entry point for people fleeing conflict or poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Most attempt the dangerous sea crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean, in dilapidated boats provided by networks of migrant smugglers.

Greek police said on Sunday that a migrant was shot and killed at the Greek-Turkish land border as she and several others tried to cross a river separating the two countries. It is not known from which side of the border the fatal shot came, or who fired it.

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