11 people attempting to flee to Greece detained in western Turkey: ministry

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Turkey’s Defense Ministry has announced that 11 people were detained by security forces in western Turkey on Friday as they attempted to flee to Greece via the Evros River.

The ministry said nine of the people, who were detained in Edirne province by border guards, had links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group labelled as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup, while the latter denies any involvement.

Many have tried to exit Turkey illegally since the government has revoked thousands of passports.

The government removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs on alleged Gülen links following the coup attempt.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in February that a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the movement.

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