Ahead of Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, our reporter went to meet members of the Turkish opposition, who have received little airtime in the state-controlled media. Since the 2016 failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, thousands of opposition supporters have fled Turkey and found refuge in Europe. On the continent, they believed they would be safe and enjoy freedom of speech, but in reality they are forced to live in hiding and fear being arrested.
In the aftermath of the July 2016 failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, mass arrests and purges prompted supporters of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, pro-Kurdish activists and some opposition journalists to seek refuge abroad. They mainly fled to Greece, the Balkans and Germany. In 2017, over 14,000 Turks applied for asylum in Europe, more than half of them in Germany. That’s 250% more than before the attempted coup.
But even abroad, their respite turned out to be short-lived. That’s because the Turkish government is using every possible means to find them, put them on trial and have them convicted: intelligence services, Interpol red notices and even a network of pro-Erdogan activists.
Ahead of this weekend’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, our reporter Marine Pradel went to meet Turkish opposition members exiled in Germany, who live in fear. For security reasons, they refused to reveal their exact locations and some chose to remain anonymous.