Seventeen Turkish citizens seek sanctuary in Greece: Greek coastguard

Seventeen Turkish citizens seek sanctuary in Greece: Greek coastguard

ATHENS
Seventeen Turkish citizens seek sanctuary in Greece: Greek coastguard

Seventeen Turkish nationals, including six children, have requested asylum in Greece after crossing over from Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported on Feb. 20, citing the Greek coastguard. 

The group - seven men, four women and six children - on Feb. 18 reached the small island group of Oinousses, opposite the ports of Çeşme and İzmir on the Aegean Coast, according to the report.

“They were picked up by a coastguard vessel and taken to the island of Chios for registration,” a coastguard spokeswoman said.

Chios news portal Politischios said the asylum seekers were civil servants and judicial staff. The authorities declined to give more details.

Greece’s asylum service says more than 1,800 Turkish citizens requested sanctuary in 2017, a tenfold increase over the previous year.

This places Greece in second place behind Germany as an EU destination of choice for Turks believed to be fleeing the sweeping measures following the July 2016 coup attempt.

Turkey has arrested over 55,000 people in a mass crackdown after the putsch, which Ankara has blamed on the Gülen network, widely believed to have orchestrated the coup attempt, which left 250 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.

Among those who have fled to Greece since 2016 are eight Turkish officers whom Ankara accuses of involvement in the coup attempt.

To Turkey’s outrage, Greece’s Supreme Court has blocked the officers’ extradition, saying they would not have a fair trial in their home country.

The eight former Turkish officers are currently involved in a legal trial concerning their status in Greece. Although they have all applied for asylum, only one of them has been granted this status. However, this status has temporarily been revoked by the Greek authorities.

The eight men - three majors, three captains and two sergeant majors - flew to Greece by helicopter on July 16 in 2016.

Greece, Greek, coast, Turkey, asylum seekers, asylum, Gülen, FETÖ, Fethullah Gülen