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Society

Boats Carrying 26 Turkish Asylum Seekers Fleeing Erdogan Reaches Chios

August 30, 2020

While Greece has been inundated with refugees and migrants coming through Turkey, two boats holding 26 Turks fleeing the increasingly repressive regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed on the island of Chios.

They want asylum, Agence France-Presse reported of the group that includes children and found themselves on an island holding refugees and migrants Turkey let human traffickers send during an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the EU.

The people were rescued by the Greek Coast Guard as the boats approached the shore on Aug. 29, the local news site politischios.gr, reported, those aboard saying they were being persecuted by Erdogan's regime.

He purged civil society, the courts, military, and schools after a failed 2016 coup attempt against him he blamed on followers of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

Greece has been accused by Turkey of pushing back refugees and migrants from five islands holding more than 34,000 of them and the report said wo passengers had drilled holes in the boat as it approached the island to prompt a rescue operation and were then arrested.

The group was tested for Coronavirus and transferred to a quarantine center in Lefkonia, three weeks after another boat with 23 Turkish citizens seeking asylum had reached Chios.

Hundreds of Turks have fled their country since the coup attempt, most wanting asylum in Greece, coming to islands and also through the land border near the Evros River where Erdogan earlier this year sent 10,000 migrants and urged them to try to get across but were stymied by Greek riot police and army units.

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