Victim of Erdoğan’s post-coup crackdown arrested in Turkey after pushback by Greece 

A woman who was pushed back to Turkey from Greece, where she fled to escape imprisonment on trumped-up charges, has been arrested by Turkish authorities, the Kronos news website reported.

Yeliz Temur was facing a prison sentence as part of a crackdown launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the aftermath of a coup attempt in 2016, 

According to Kronos, Temur was pushed back from Greece on June 17, a couple of hours after she crossed the Evros River, the land border between Greece and Turkey, with her 8-year-old daughter. Upon their return, she was arrested by Turkish gendarmes in front of her daughter.

Temur wanted to seek refuge in Greece after a regional appeals court’s upholding of her nine-year prison sentence on conviction of links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group accused by the government of “terrorist” activities.

Her husband Kadir is also jailed over alleged Gülen links in a prison in the southern province of Antalya.  

President 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 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Turkey’s former public servants were not only fired from their jobs after the attempted coup in 2016; they were also prohibited from working again in the public sector and getting a passport. The government also made it difficult for them to work formally in the private sector. Notes were put on the social security database about dismissed public servants to deter potential employers.

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; some were pushed back to Turkey by Greek security; and others perished on their way to Greece.

The purge victims had to leave the country illegally because the government had revoked their passports.

According to a report by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) titled “Pushbacks of Turkish asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey: Violation of the principle of non-refoulement,” the pushbacks, particularly of Turkish asylum seekers, violate the principles of international and European Union law, in particular the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits returning refugees to a country where they would face persecution.

Last week the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that 56 Turkish asylum seekers who crossed from Turkey into Greece on June 12 and were afraid of being pushed back “should not be removed.”

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