Eleven people claimed to be members of the faith-based Gülen movement have been detained in the seaside resort town of Marmaris in southwestern Turkey while attempting to cross to the Greek Islands on a yacht, the private DHA news agency reported on Thursday.
According to DHA, the Muğla Police Department received information that individuals suspected to be members of the Gülen movement would attempt to travel to the Greek island of Rhodes from off the coast of Bozburun in Marmaris on a yacht.
In coordination with the Muğla Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Southern Aegean group from the Coast Guard Command and police intercepted the yacht as it was about to leave Turkish territorial waters.
Processing of the 11 individuals, who are claimed to have been subject to a travel ban, are ongoing at the police department, DHA said.
Migration from Turkey to Europe and other Western countries has intensified since 2016 due to the Turkish government’s purge of political opponents in the wake of the 2016 coup attempt. Most of the Turks seeking asylum in Western countries are reportedly sympathizers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.
Thousands of people fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt carried out by the Turkish government against alleged members of the Gülen movement after the coup attempt. Many have tried to leave Turkey illegally since the government had canceled the passports of thousands of people.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the coup attempt. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.