Turkish security forces on Wednesday detained four people in Edirne province near the Greek border over their alleged membership in the Gülen movement as they were reportedly trying to flee to Greece to escape persecution in Turkey.
According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, Turkish gendarmerie forces detained four people, identified as N.H.Y., M.Y., Y.Y. and P.Y. in Edirne. A local court ruled to arrest two of the detainees, while the other two are reportedly still in police custody.
A total of 3,189 Turkish nationals have arrived in Greece and applied for asylum in the last two years, according to Greek Immigration Ministry data. The figure, which surged after a controversial coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, was around 100 in the three-year period prior to the abortive putsch.
In July alone, 687 Turks applied for asylum in Greece, while more Turks were trying to reach Western Europe to lodge an asylum application.
The Turkish government started a crackdown after the controversial coup attempt that led to the dismissal of nearly 140,000 civil servants and investigations into some 400,000 citizens on “terrorism” charges.
The government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating the failed putsch, although the movement strongly denies any involvement. In the last two years, 550 people have been detained and more than 7,000 passports have been confiscated by security at İstanbul Atatürk Airport over Gülen links.