The number of people who were detained while trying to escape from Turkey to Greece in the face of a government crackdown against the suspected followers of the Gulen movement has reached to 546.
Anadolu news agency reported that 546 suspected Gulenists were detained near Turkey-Greece border in the Edirne province alone. The breakdown of the total number is as follows: 18 people were caught in 2016; 149 people in 2017; 266 people in 2018; and 113 people in the first 4 months of this year according to the latest such data.
Among those detained near the border crossing are former military members, judges, prosecutors, teachers, police officers, academics as well as journalists, Anadolu said.
The agency has not provided any data who were intercepted at any other border crossing or other common spots along Turkey-Greece border like off the shores of Izmir where many Turkish asylum seekers were earlier reported to have fled.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and an ensuing crackdown has left thousands of victims behind. Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against all kinds of opposition.
More than 510,000 people have been detained and some 100,000 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.
Meanwhile, Scores of Turkish asylum seekers have been pushed back — sometimes violently — from Greece in the last three weeks, lawyers and family members told Euronews earlier this month.