Seventeen Turkish officials seek political asylum in Greece
by NAT da Polis

The group of civil servants and judges with their families claim they are victims of persecution by the Turkish regime. Tensions between Turkey and Greece are bound to rise as both claim inlets off the coast of Turkey.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Seventeen Turkish civil servants and judges with their families have fled to Greece where they have applied for political asylum.

According to media reports, the 17 Turkish nationals arrived at Oinousses, a group of islands two kilometres off the north-east coast of the Greek island of Chios.

They base their request for political asylum on grounds of political persecution by Turkish authorities.

Since the failed military coup of 15 July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a campaign of repression that has led to the arrest, prosecution and jailing of more than 50,000 people, including many journalists, lawyers, academics, and soldiers. More than 140,000 have lost their jobs or have been suspended, in both the public and private sectors.

Immediately after the so-called coup, eight members of the Turkish military fled to Greece on a helicopter and asked for political asylum.

Turkey demanded their extradition. Although the Greek government did oppose the request, a Greek court rejected it to guarantee the physical integrity of the asylum seekers.

Since then, relations between the two countries have been tense. No doubt, the latest episode will further exacerbate them.

Ankara and Athens remained embroiled in another dispute, this one over the control of a group of islets close to the Turkish coast, which are Greek according to international conventions and treaties.

Following their arrival, the 17 men, women and children were taken to a refugee camp on Chios Island for verifications.