ATHENS – Greek authorities believe more Turks fleeing the wrath of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a failed coup attempt against him in 2016 will come to Greece seeking asylum, adding to the more than 64,000 refugees and migrants – most sent by human traffickers from Turkey where they went to get away from war and strife in their own countries.
Some 17 Turks landed on the islets of Oinousses earlier in February and taken to a reception center on nearby Chios, already overrun with refugees and migrants, before secretly being moved to Piraeus, Kathimerini said.
According to official government figures, 1,827 Turkish citizens lodged applications for asylum in Greece last year. Erdogan has purged the military and civil service and had been considering seeking return of the death penalty, splintering relations with the European Union which opposes that, as Turkey has been seeking for more than a decade to join the bloc.
Eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after the coup attempt, in which they said they took no part, are also seeking asylum and one has been granted it, only to see Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras seek to have it revoked.
Critics said he is moving toward fulfilling Erdogan’s demand that the soldiers be returned although a Greek court ruled against it, saying their lives were in danger.