UPDATE: Pakistanis among the 65 asylum seekers in Greece trying to go to Italy on Tuesday

Asylum seekers NEMO boat

The 65 asylum seekers that disembarked from the Nemo boat in Katakolo were originally believed to have been all Turks and Kurds escaping the regime of Turkish President  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as reported yesterday by Greek City Times.

According to local press, 20 are police officers who are followers of Fethullah Gülen, a former ally turned mortal enemy of Erdoğan that lives in exile in Pennsylvania., while the other 10 are of Kurdish origin with connections to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

30 asylum seekers from Turkey have been detained since Tuesday in Katakolo and are known to the Greek authorities.

In September, they were spotted by the Coast Guard off Gavdos to the south of Crete, sailing from Turkey to Italy. These are people who, as they claim, are being persecuted by Erdoğan.

In fact, two months ago, Greek authorities had issued an official note to most of them, according to which they could move freely in Greece, but not in the rest of Europe. That is why, after a while, they tried for the second time in a few months to travel illegally to Italy.

Asylum seekers at Katakolo.
Asylum seekers at Katakolo.

In addition to the Turkish opposition, members of the Pakistani opposition were on board the fishing boat, Infognomon reported.

Two Ukrainian sailors took Nemo from the coast of Western Greece in the early hours of Tuesday with their destination to Italy.

Early in the morning of the same day and while sailing southwest of Zakynthos, the fishing boat showed mechanical damage and they were forced to send a distress signal.

Greek Coast Guard officers rushed to help with two boats.

Asylum seekers at Katakolo.
Asylum seekers at Katakolo.

They took the asylum seekers to Katakolo for further investigation.

Because Turkish nationals were among those rescued, police officials took part in investigations.

Asylum seekers at Katakolo.
Asylum seekers at Katakolo.

1,826 Turks had sought asylum in Greece in 2017, while in 2018 their number jumped to 4,836.