Eight Turkish citizens whose passports were revoked by the Turkish government and whose legal residence in Mongolia ceased at the end of July traveled to Canada on August 11 immediately after Canada decided to grant them asylum, Bold Medya reported on Thursday.
An officer from United Nations also escorted the group to ensure their safe exit from Mongolia and their safety during the journey.
The group applied for asylum with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in order to avoid feared deportation to Turkey in June, and they obtained asylum-seeker certificates that showed they were under UN protection until Dec. 31, 2019.
They had worried about their future in Mongolia following an alleged Turkish intelligence operation to take a school director back to Turkey in July 2018 that was blocked by the Mongolian government at the last minute after it drew outrage from the public.
The group, consisting mainly of educators and their families, had been denied consular services; their passports had been cancelled; and their legal residence in Mongolia ended on June 30. They were not able to renew their residence permits as their passports were no longer valid.
After arriving in Canada the group issued a joint statement thanking the Mongolian people for the support and assistance they provided during that difficult time.
“Mongolia is our second homeland, and we will never forget you,” the statement reads.
The Turkish government has asked for the extradition of at least 419 people since a controversial coup attempt in 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency had earlier reported.