Four people have been detained in the Keşan district of Edirne province while attempting to flee to Greece in a bid to escape a post-coup witch-hunt currently ongoing in Turkey, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.
According to the report, a surgeon, Mehmet Ali Yılmaz (34), and a physician, Meryem Dağdelen (31), who were both fired from their jobs by government decree; and Hatice Çelikcan (45) and Murat Yılmaz (45) were caught by gendarmes as they were trying to flee to Greece. Dağdelen and Çelikcan reportedly wanted to go to Greece to reunite with their husbands.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government against the country’s dissidents and sympathizers of the Gülen movement in particular since a failed coup attempt on July 15.
The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.
Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, businessmen, students, teachers, academics and governors.