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11 Turkish folk dancers apply for asylum in Hungary after performing in Budapest

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Eleven Turkish folk dancers applied for asylum in Hungary after participating in an event in Budapest, the Doğan news agency reported on Tuesday.

Sixteen dancers from the Ankara City Children and Youth Folk Dance Society took part in “Farewell to Summer,” a folk dance event in the nation’s capital held Nov. 5-10. However, only five of the performers returned to Turkey, with the others requesting asylum in the Central European country.

The 16 dancers, who had only recently been granted certificates to perform, had received special passports in recognition of their role of representing Turkey abroad.

Turkey’s Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Turkish Folk Dance Federation have reportedly filed a criminal complaint, and the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office announced on Tuesday that it had launched an investigation into the incident.

Although the reasons for the dancers’ request for asylum have not been announced, the Turkish government has been conducting a purge against the faith-based Gülen movement, which it accuses of masterminding a failed coup in July of last year.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016 through government decrees issued as part of an ongoing state of emergency declared after the putsch.

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