Turkish authorities detain 41 asylum seekers on their way to Greece

Turkish authorities on Saturday detained 41 asylum seekers who were on their way to Greece from southern Turkey’s Muğla province, the Kronos news website reported

The asylum seekers were fleeing to Greece by boat when the coast guard picked them up in Turkish waters. After questioning by the police, 10 asylum seekers were arrested by a court while 27 others are still in custody. Six were released under judicial supervision. 

Among the detainees, at least 14 are facing prosecution for alleged links to the Gülen movement and were attempting to flee the country to escape conviction. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Thousands of people were jailed, and scores of others had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown. Victims had to leave the country illegally because the government had revoked their passports.

Turkish nationals are among the largest groups requesting asylum in European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. Turks seeking asylum in Germany increased by 216 percent in 2022, putting Turkey third among countries with the most asylum applications in the country. 

Purge victims who wanted to flee the country to avoid the post-coup crackdown took dangerous journeys across the Evros River or the Aegean Sea. Some were arrested by Turkish security forces and some were pushed back to Turkey by Greek security, while others perished on their way to Greece.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!