Turkey Says 8,000 Coup Backers Fled to Greece, Seek Asylum

FILE - One of eight Turkish soldiers who landed in Greece after fleeing a failed coup is being escorted at the Asylum Agency in Athens, Jan. 8, 2018. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Stelios Misinas)

With tensions still high between the countries, Turkey’s Interior Minister, Suleiman Soylu, said at least 8,000 backers of a Turkish cleric now based in the United States who Turkey accuses of organizing a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016 escaped to Greece.

Soylu said they were members of the movement of Fethullah Gulen and fled Turkey by using the same routes that human traffickers do when sending refugees and migrants to Greece. After the coup, Erdogan purged civil society, the military and courts and started cracking down on dissidents and jailing journalists while pushing his country’s candidacy for the European Union.

Members of the movement, known as FETO in Turkey, are accused of belong to a now illegal organization blamed by the Turkish government and the ruling AKP party for the coup debacle that saw Erdogan narrowly escape an assassination attempt.

In a press briefing and in response to a question on whether ISIS terrorists are posing as “migrants and refugees” in order to infiltrate Turkey, Soylu added that this was also routine practice by the PKK and FETO, outlawed there as terrorist groups, said Kathimerini.

Soylu said alleged FETO members use the land route to reach Greece through Thrace that is separated by the Evros/Maritsa River, the spot where human traffickers send refugees and migrants into Greece, a number drowning trying to get across.

In February this year, data from Greece’s asylum service put the number of Turks who fled the coup and were seeking asylum at 7, 137, many of them professionals.
That was a record number of applications and an astronomical jump from 2013-15 when only 100 asylum requests from Turkish nationals were filed, the report added. There was no information on how many have been granted beyond the first approval on July, 21, 2017 to a 25-year-old Turkish citizen.

After the summer of 2016, Greek authorities had focused their attention to the eastern Aegean where they expected most Turkish arrivals to arrive and the favored route by migrants and refugees who first went to Turkey as a jumping-off point to get to Greece in hopes of reaching other more prosperous European countries before the borders were closed to them.

Most of those who manage to enter the country head to Athens or Thessaloniki where unofficial support networks have been established by Turks, the paper said.

2 Comments

  1. That they reached Greek soil, shows, the heads of the Border Security? Coast Guard, Astynomia, etc should all be in prison for not protecting Greek borders….disgraceful…..send them all back plus the 8 service members they are a potential threat to greece, possible plants to do greece harm.

  2. Get ready,…Not only is he sending over to Greece alleged terrorist involved in the coup attempt of Turkey, but his ISIS and Al Queda jihadist he supported in killing orthodox Christians in Syria in his effort to overthrow the government of Syria and who is attempting to negotiate with Russia and Syria to remove his army from IDLIB , the last major city to be liberated by the Syrian people!

    This are is also , being held by US proxy terrorist ..all for the purpose of trying to partition the oil field of Syria to their new planned base run by the Kurds!

    Today, as part of the punishment against the EU..which includes Price tariffs on all goods..which means on Greece ..that woujld damage the Kalamata olive sales, feta cheese, and all agricutlural product if they do not cooperate with U.S economic , political , and military warfare with Iran, Syria ,Russia , China, Venezuela, etc etc…

    But the Best part ..is that Donnie is going to release all ISIS prisoners captured ..to the EU countries ..which means thru Turkey…and what we may really be seeing ..is that these 8000 are part of the ISIS prisoners released by America!

    So ..MIstotakis and the ruling party, will do what they are told …and their security forces have been told ..not to obstruct this illegal trampling of Greek borders by ISIS terrorist ..who are being sent back to Europe ..where many came from!

    You are right …send them back with Mistotakis and his ruling party with Syriza!

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