A Turkish couple was intercepted in Hakkari’s Şemdinli district while reportedly on way to escape the government’s post-coup crackdown to Iraq on March 23.

State-run Anadolu news agency said the couple was caught near Hacıbey river and taken into police custody where they were later found to have links to the Gulen movement.

While the identities of the couple remain unknown, they were jailed pending trial on charge of membership to a terror group on Sunday, Anadolu said.

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 any involvement.

More than 150,000 people have been detained and some 60,000 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 illegally, as the government has cancelled thousands of passports.

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