Dec 29 2018

Over 17,000 asylum applications from Turkey to EU in 2018 - Xinhua

The number of Turkish citizens seeking asylum in European Union countries have significantly increased in the past two years, exceeding 17,000 pending applicants recorded so far in 2018, a Turkish official told China’s state-run news agency Xinhua on Friday. 

The Turkish official said that in 2016 there were almost none asylum applications from Turkey to the EU countries, while, as of 2018, Turks are the fifth largest group seeking asylum in the EU with a total of 17,332 pending cases.

Turkish applications in 2018 were submitted mainly in Germany, followed by Greece, France, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium.

The asylum applications from Turkey to the EU countries have spiked following a coup attempt in 2016 and due to the Turkish government’s crackdown over opposition under the two-year emergency rule that followed. 

According to the same official, which talked to Xinhua on the condition of anonymity, most of the Turkish asylum seekers are believed to be devotees of the Gülen movement, which Turkish government accuses of orchestrating the coup attempt.

The religious group led by U.S. based Islamist cleric Fethullah Gülen denies involvement in the coup attempt.