409 Turkish citizens have sought asylum in Norway in past 18 months

Norway said on Thursday the number of asylum seekers from Turkey has increased noticeably in recent weeks, with 245 Turkish nationals claiming asylum thus far in 2018, including 142 in June.

The total number of Turkish asylum seekers in Norway was 164 in 2017, according to Norway’s Directorate of Immigration, as reported by The Associated Press.

Many have sought shelter over political persecution back in Turkey due to their alleged links to tte Gülen movement, Frode Forfang, the head of the agency said on Thursday. Forfang added that “most of them” have been granted protection in the past.

A total of 16,640 Turkish nationals claimed asylum in 32 countries on the European continent in 2017, said the Malta-based the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) last month. The 32 countries include Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland on top of 28 EU countries.

The reason for the mass exodus from Turkey was Turkish government’s post-coup crackdown against its critics: Gülen movement supporters, Kurdish minority, journalists, academics and people from many other social circles.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

Take a second to support SCF on Patreon!