A group of Turkish asylum seekers in Greece has become a sensation after they left 10 euros for the wood they took from a café to stay warm, local media reported Tuesday.
“Last night a group of people we came from Turkey. Because of the cold weather we had to make fire and used your stores. Please take these euros,” a handwritten note attached to the money read.
The note was found by its addressee, a café owner in Nea Vyssa in Evros, a small district near Turkey-Greek border in the morning who told media that it is the first time such an incident happened to him although dozens of immigrants spend every day at his place.
“It was written in English, I went to a neighbor to translate it, I was surprised seeing a white envelope and my surprise was even greater when I saw it in 10 euros,” the cafe owner Dimitris Kazantzis told Radio Thessaloniki.
Why are Turks fleeing?
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against its critics such as academics, Kurdish politicians and especially the real or imagined 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 and calls its followers terrorist while the group denies involvement in the putsch and any terrorist activities.
More than 220,000 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 over Gulen links since last summer.
Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others. The Turks often cross Evros river to escape from the snowballing persecution. Around 14,000 people crossed the Evros frontier from January through September of this year, the Wall Street Journal said earlier this week underlining that around half of those crossing the Evros river were Turkish citizens.
On July 19, a woman and her three children died after a boat carrying a group of Turkish asylum seekers capsized in the Evros River while seeking to escape Erdogan’s crackdown.
In a separate incident on Feb 13, at least three people died and five others were missing their boat fell off in the river the same way.