A total of 16,640 Turkish nationals claimed asylum in 32 countries in the European continent in 2017, a recent report noted.

Malta-based the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) released asylum statistics compiled from the 28 EU countries as well as Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland, all grouped as EU+ countries.

The number of asylum claimants from Turkey to EU+ saw a record increase year on year in 2017. While 11,670 Turks sought protection in 2016, the corresponding number rose to 16,640 last year, a 42 percent surge.

The reason for the mass exodus from Turkey was Turkish government’s post-coup crackdown against its critics: Gulen movement supporters, Kurdish minority, journalists, academics and people from many other circles.

Turkish government accuses Gulenists for the July 15, 2016 failed coup while the latter denies involvement. More than 160,000 people have been detained over Gulen links in Turkey since the summer of 2016.

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