More than 7,000 Turkish nationals have requested international protection in Greece since the failed coup attempt in their country in July 2016, according to Greek newspaper Kathimerini.
Just 189 Turks filed for asylum in 2016, then 1,826 in 2017, and 4,834 in 2018, according to data from Greece’s asylum service. With another 288 asylum applications last month, the total comes to 7,137 – a record number, considering that from 2013 to 2015 Greece received just 100 asylum requests from Turkish nationals, according to Kathimerini.
The data did not provide details on how many had been accepted or denied.
The majority of those fleeing Turkey are civil servants or teachers linked to academic institutions belonging to U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, the man Turkey accuses of masterminding the coup attempt.
After the summer of 2016, Greek authorities focused their attention to the eastern Aegean where they expected most Turkish arrivals, but it quickly became apparent that the majority had entered Greece through its northeastern land border with Turkey, according to Kathimerini.
Most who manage to enter Greece head to Athens or Thessaloniki, where support networks have been established by fellow countrymen.