NEWS

More than 7,000 Turks have submitted asylum requests since 2016

YIANNIS PAPADOPOULOS

TAGS: Turkey, Human Rights

An upward of 7,000 Turkish nationals have requested international protection in Greece since the failed coup attempt in their country in 2016, according to the data published by the country's asylum service.

Based on the information, 189 Turks filed for asylum in 2016, 1,826 in 2017, 4,834 in 2018 and 288 in January 2019, raising the total number to 7,137. This is a record number of applications, considering that in the previous three years (from 2013 to 2015) Greece received only 100 asylum requests from Turkish nationals.

The data did not provide details on how many of them have been accepted or pending. However, as Kathimerini has previously revealed, the first confirmed asylum approval was issued on 21 July 2017 to a 25-year-old Turkish national.

The majority of those fleeing Turkey are civil servants or teachers linked to academic institutions belonging to self-exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup attempt.

After the summer of 2016, Greek authorities had focused their attention to the eastern Aegean where they expected most Turkish arrivals.

However it quickly became apparent that the majority entered from Greece's northeastern land border with Turkey.

Most of those who manage to enter the country head to Athens or Thessaloniki where unofficial support networks have been established by fellow countrymen.

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