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Kurdish deputy among 65 from Turkey seeking asylum in Greece: report

A lifebelt is seen on the beach of the port of Lesbos island on April 16, 2015. Since Greece bolstered controls along its land border with Turkey, along the Evros River, illegal immigrants have turned to the maritime route between Turkey and the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, notably Lesbos, Samos, Kos and Chios. 2015 started with a major increase in the number of Aegean crossings: 10,445 against 2,863 in the same period of 2014, according to the Greek port police. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS

A Kurdish member of the Turkish parliament is among 65 people including other Kurds and former public servants who have fled government persecution in Turkey to seek asylum in Greece, according to a report in the Greek City Times newspaper on Thursday.

The paper said a boat carrying asylum seekers from Turkey arrived in the Western Greek town of Katakolo in Ilia on Tuesday afternoon and that its passengers included former Turkish police officers, militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), academics, a member of the Turkish parliament and a journalist. The report did not reveal the name of the deputy or whether the person was a former or current MP.

According to the report, 20 of the police officers were followers of the Gülen movement, listed as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government, while 10 were members of the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

A Kurdish journalist known only as Azad who was reportedly persecuted and imprisoned for three years in Turkey, said: “Prison is tough. The Turkish authorities have nothing to do with those in Greece. I want to leave for any country where I can communicate in English and be able to continue my life.”

Thousands of people including Gülen movement followers and Kurds had to flee Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, following which the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup, while the movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

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