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article imageTurkish families seek sanctuary in Greece: coastguard

By AFP     Feb 20, 2018 in World

Seventeen Turkish nationals, including six children, have requested asylum in Greece after crossing over from Turkey, the Greek coastguard said Tuesday.

The group -- seven men, four women and six children -- on Monday reached the small island group of Oinousses, opposite the ports of Cesme and Izmir.

"They were picked up by a coastguard vessel and taken to the island of Chios for registration," a coastguard spokeswoman said.

Chios news portal politischios said the asylum seekers were civil servants and judicial staff. The authorities declined to give more details.

Greece's asylum service says more than 1,800 Turkish citizens requested sanctuary in 2017, a tenfold increase over the previous year.

This places Greece in second place behind Germany as an EU destination of choice for Turks believed to be fleeing the crackdown that followed a failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.

Turkey has arrested over 55,000 people in a mass crackdown after the putsch which Ankara has blamed on the outlawed group of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen denies the charges.

Among those who have fled to Greece since 2016 are eight Turkish officers whom Ankara accuses of involvement in the attempted coup.

To Turkey's outrage, Greece's Supreme Court has blocked the officers' extradition, saying they would not have a fair trial in their home country.

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