NEWS

Dozens of Turks, Kurds reach western Greece seeking asylum

dozens-of-turks-kurds-reach-western-greece-seeking-asylum

Dozens of people who identified themselves as Turkish and Kurdish dissidents were among the 65 passengers aboard a migrant vessel that reached the western Peloponnese on Tuesday afternoon, a local news website reported on Thursday.

The fishing boat “Nemo” was located by the Greek Coast Guard off the coast of the island of Zakynthos in western Greece but authorities decided to disembark the passengers at the port of Katakolo, in the region on Ilia, after they were informed of the nationalities onboard, according to ilialive.gr.

Among the migrants were 20 Turkish police officers who said they were supporters of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, academics, a lawmaker and a journalist, as well as 10 Kurds members of the PKK, the same report said.

The rest were – mainly Kurdish – migrants from Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the report, they all said they eventually want to continue their journey to other EU countries.

The migrants were questioned by intelligence officials who sought to determine their identities.

On Wednesday, officers in Athens arrested three Turkish nationals for carrying fake Greek identity cards. They too told police they were Gulenists.

According to reports, some of the Turkish dissidents had also been intercepted in September by the coast guard off the southern island of Gavdos, sailing from Turkey to Italy. Most were issued an official note, according to which they could move freely in Greece, but not in the rest of Europe.

That is why they had been trying for the second time in a few months to travel illegally to Italy.