Late on Wednesday night, 13 people from Turkey landed in Rhodes and stated that they were persecuted by the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and asked for political asylum, Rodiaki reported.
The 13 Turkish citizens (12 men and one woman) started from Smyrna (Σμύρνα, Turkish: İzmir) several weeks ago, and went to Makri (Μάκρη, Turkish: Fethiye), from where they went to Rhodes late on Wednesday night.
They chartered a speedboat which transported them and landed them in the area of Stegna Archangelos.
According to the residents of the area who saw them, the boat approached the area with the lights off and then disembarked very quickly and left.
Some of the Turkish citizens served in key areas of the Turkish state, but were targeted by the government for being supporters of Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic preacher that was once allied with Erdoğan but now lives in exile in the U.S.
“We saw the boat approaching quietly and with the lights off. We realized that they were not locals,” a resident of the area told Rodiaki.
“We immediately notified the police and the port authorities. The people who came down were wet and in pain. However, they were very dignified and they asked us to notify the authorities,” added the resident.
“The boat left them and very quickly. But we made the people sit in the shed of the store we have, we gave them tea and coffee, we lit the fireplace for them, they were shivering from the cold. They were wet to the bone and scared,” the resident continued to explain.
“One of them asked me to give him the WI-FI password from the store. I opened it for them and then he communicated in front of me from his cell phone to his wife. He and his wife were crying,” he said.
However, it was the next part of the shop owners statement to Rodiaki that was especially sad.
The resident explained that the man and his wife had not communicated with each other for over a month because they were persecuted and did not want people to know that they were preparing to leave the country.
“They were decent people. They seemed cultured. When the police came, they took all their mobile phones and papers they had with them and checked them,” the resident explained.
“When they left, one of them came out to pay for our teas and coffees. He gave me $10 or $20. I discreetly nodded to him to put the money in his wallet, wished him good luck and told them to go well and return one day to their country free,” the resident added.
“I hope that this will happen quickly and that people will stop being uprooted from their country,” the resident of Archangelos concluded, asking Rodiaki not to publish his details “because what we did in those few hours for these people, we did from our hearts.”
All the testimonies and data of the individuals are being examined very carefully by the Greek Services handling the case.