At least 17 Turkish citizens have claimed asylum in Greece after they snuck into the island group of Oinousses from Turkey’s Aegean shores, according to media on Feb 20.

The asylum seekers include 6 children as well as former civil servants and judicial staff who were earlier dismissed over their alleged ties to the Gulen movement.

The Greek Coast Guard reportedly confirmed that 17 Turkish nationals applied for refugee protection in Greece where they seek safety from Turkey’s post-coup crackdown.

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 126,000 people have been detained and some 56,000 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.