Greece’s asylum service has published data, revealing that more than 7,000 Turkish nationals have requested asylum in Greece since the failed coup attempt in their country in 2016.
Only 189 Turks filed for asylum in 2016, then 1,826 in 2017, and 4,834 in 2018, according to data from Greece’s asylum service.
The majority of those fleeing Turkey are civil servants, lawyers, doctors and teachers linked to the U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, the man Turkey’s President accuses of masterminding the coup attempt.
The Turkish government has arrested tens of thousands of people it claims to have links to Gülen, while another 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and professors have been sacked from the government as part of Ankara’s ongoing “cleanse” of people they say pose a threat to the country.
Those Ankara has accused of links to Gülen may not even be safe abroad, dozens of Turks who fled to nations around the world have been arrested and deported back to Turkey.
When Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Turkey this month, his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan specifically called for the return to Turkey of eight soldiers who fled to Greece during the coup.
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