20,000 Turks fled to Greece following 2016 coup attempt

Around 20,000 Turkish citizens have fled to neighbouring Greece following a failed military coup against the government in 2016, Hürriyet newspaper reported on Sunday.

A bulk of the 19,653 people who entered Greece following the failed putsch are accused of membership in the Gülen movement, a religious group Ankara maintains orchestrated the failed coup, it said.

Of the 9,000 Turkish citizens who have sought asylum in Greece, only 2,000 have been successful, according to Hürriyet, while the remaining 7,000 have yet to hear back on their applications.

The applications of 697 Turkish nationals have been rejected.

Soon after the failed putsch the Turkish government began a crackdown against followers of Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, who lives in the United States in self-imposed exile. More than 150,000 people, including thousands of military officials, have been fired or suspended from their jobs, while tens of thousands of suspected Gülen devotees have fled abroad, including to neighbouring Greece.

Members of other groups deemed terrorist organisations by Ankara, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the far-leftRevolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C), make up the second largest group of Turks who have fled to Greece, Hürriyet said.

A large number of those accused of Gülen links in Greece have moved on to other European countries, it said.