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WSJ: More than 7,000 Turks in Greece escaping from Erdogan

About half of the 14,000 people who illegally crossed the Evros in Greece in the first nine months of the year were Turkish nationals who left to save themselves from the pogrom of the Erdogan government, the Wall Street Journal writes.

These are judges, members of the armed forces of Turkey, civil servants or businessmen whom the Turkish authorities consider supporters of the movement of the self-exiled imam Fethullah Gülen- the mastermind, according to Ankara of the failed coup d'état of July 2016 - and who passed illegally in to Greece because they had their passports seized.

Nearly 4,000 Turks have filed so far this year seeking asylum applications in Greece, but most Turkish arrivals are not recorded in the country because they plan to move to other European countries and move further away from Turkey, writes  the newspaper adding that this wave has been added to the friction points between Athens and Ankara, as the Turkish pro-government newspapers call the fugitives "traitors".

"We did not say goodbye to anyone before we left," one of them said to the WSJ, now in Athens, looking for a way to get to Germany. Yuyuz Tsagar, his wife and their child arrived in Greece paying huge sums to traffickers, the newspaper said. "We started our trip with 13,000 euros in the pocket and now we have 1,500 left," he said.

Yilmaz Bilir worked in the Department of Informatics-Technology of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, but he also came under scrutiny from Turkish authorities as a "gulenist", which he denies. Billir was arrested on a short visit to his home when the neighbors called the police. And when he was temporarily released in anticipation of his trial, he decided to forsake his mother and his family. In the meantime, he managed to get a forged passport and travel to Germany where he applied for asylum and now asks for his wife and children to follow him there.

Ahmed, a 30-year-old former F-16 pilot of the Turkish Air Force, makes the rounds in the center of Athens looking for an escape route abroad. "My dream is Canada, but my reality is Omonoia," he says.

A few months after the attempted coup d'état, Ahmed was dismissed following a complaint by a colleague accused of links to the Guilenist movement, arrested and beaten. He remonstrated that he had no relations with the Imam's network, but they did not listen to him. So when he was set temporarily free, he decided to leave because he knew he would end up in jail 

Thousands of people were taken to Turkish prisons in a pogrom following the failed coup, 150,000 lost their jobs, accused of belonging to the movement that encouraged its members to take up key posts in education, public services, police, armed forces, Justice and the media. Meanwhile, the government has seized billions of dollars worth of assets from companies associated with the Gülen movement.