“We tried to start over, but we were already marginalized in the community as ‘putschists,’” said Murat. “Our children were not accepted to schools, and finally, when 50 police arrived at our parent’s village to detain my wife, by chance we were not there. I sold my car within a week and with that money, we came to Greece.”
Now, at least 1,000 Turkish citizens are seeking refuge in Greece, according to the refugee support nonprofit SolidarityNOW. It’s hard to pin down an exact number because not many have applied for asylum, says Antonis Spathis, a human rights lawyer in Thessaloniki. The Greek Asylum Service told NPR that 186 Turkish citizens applied for asylum in 2016 and noted there has been a “significant” increase in 2017.
Oğuzhan Erkuş, a 19-year-old supporter of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), who threatened to kill Mehmet Demirözcan (32), a sympathizer of the Gülen movement who live in the Netherlands’ Tilburg city was sentenced by a Dutch court.
A civil servant: “Tens of thousands of people, educated people, academics, journalists, lawyers, and many others, are scattered around the world for different reasons and are trying to find a safe place where they can be sheltered and continue their lives with their families. The Ugur Toksoy case was the point when Kosovo’s level of safety, or its breaking point, was put to test.”
Hundred of members of Turkey’s Gulenist network have sought refuge in neighbouring Greece. Turkey accuses the network of being behind the failed coup in July 2016. And in recent months, the number of lives in exile appears to be increased as the BBC’s Cagil Kasapoglu reports from Thessaloniki.
Dominika Spyratou of the Greek NGO SolidarityNow, which provides assistance to refugees, says that more than 1,000 Turkish citizens came to Greece seeking asylum after the July 2016 failed coup, while almost 300 Turkish families are now in Thessaloniki.
A group of pro-Erdoğan Turkish Islamists came together in the city of Duisburg, Germany, and protested the schools operated and inter-cultural dialogue activities which have been carried out by the Turkish people who are affiliated with the Gülen movement.
Last year’s failed coup against Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan resulted in a crackdown on scholars and universities, and has divided the nation’s diaspora. Intense polarisation of Turkish diaspora, plus online harassment, means refugee scholars feel they are being watched.
Germany has rejected a formal request from Turkey to freeze assets of members of the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The German government officially rejected the request at the end of June, telling Ankara there were no legal grounds for Germany’s financial watchdog BaFin to crack down on the Gulen movement and its supporters.