10 people trying to flee persecution in Turkey detained at Greek border

The Greek-Turkish border line right on the bridge over the river Evros, in Thrace region. The grey line on the road marks the exact point where the two countries meet.

Turkish security forces on Friday and Saturday detained 10 people, including women, 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.

On Friday, Turkish border security forces detained five people in Edirne as they were reportedly trying to flee to Greece. It was reported by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency that the detainees are dismissed court clerk Aslı Ö. (30), dismissed teacher Zeynep Ö. (28), dismissed police chief Murat Ö. (37), Sümeyye K. (26) and Nazife D. (44).

On Saturday, Turkish security forces detained five more people in Edirne province near Greek border also attempting to flee to Greece.

Some of the detainees were accused of using the ByLock mobile phone messaging application.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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.

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