A Group of Turks Reach Greek Island to Apply for Asylum in Greece

On Tuesday, authorities in Athens said that a group of Turks who were able to reach a Greek island by dinghy from Turkey are trying to apply for political asylum in Greece.

Reportedly, the 17 Turks were Turkish civil servants and their families who escaped a crackdown by the government in the wake of a failed coup last 2016.

The coast guard said that the Turks, including six children, were discovered last Monday on the eastern Aegean Sea island of Oinousses, and were taken to the nearby island of Chios where a refugee centre was established.

Turkey has arrested over 50,000 people since the failed coup and fired a minimum of 110,000 others from their jobs in the government. The said crackdown was initially launched in order to deal with alleged coup-plotters. However, critics say that it has expanded to include other opponents of the government, such as journalists, legislators, and academics.

Also on Tuesday, The state-run news agency of Turkey reported that local authorities detained five people who were allegedly attempting to illegally cross into Greece, as well as a suspected smuggler.

They were suspected of links to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric whom Turkey condemns for the coup. Gulen denies the said accusation.

Anadolu Agency reported that the group was riding a van in the western town of Havsa, near the land border of Turkey with Greece that runs along the Evros, or Meric, river when their group were stopped.

Turkish police were able to seize a pair of oars, an inflatable boat, and 10 life jackets.