A total of sixteen people including 4 children were detained while they were reportedly on their way to escape to Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

Media reported Sunday that the group was rounded up in Lale island in Balikesir’s resort district of Ayvalik from where they were to leave for Greece’s Lesvos.

The group pretended like picnicking near the sea before they got on their boat, state-run Anadolu news agency said adding that police detained them ahead of their would-be trip.

Detainees consist of 5 men, 7 women and 4 children. Another 2 people were detained for organizing the illegal crossing.

Media said, 9 out of the suspects lost their jobs over links to the Gulen movement earlier.

 

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15. The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup while the latter denies involvement.

More than 150,000 people have been detained and some 80,000 including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, policemen and many from different backgrounds have been put in pre-trial detention since last summer.

Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.

On Feb 13, at least three people died and five others were missing after a boat carrying a group of eight capsized in the Evros River while seeking to escape a post-coup crackdown in Turkey.

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