Turkish security forces detained at least 10 people trying to cross into Greece, as well as from Syria to Turkey, National Defense Ministry said on Monday.
According to the ministry’s statement, at least seven suspects were caught, including four members of the terrorist group Daesh and another two from the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Also, three more suspected FETÖ members trying to escape to Greece were caught in Turkey's northwestern Edirne province, security sources said.
Turkish border guards arrested the suspects trying to escape to Greece in a restricted military zone near Edirne's Uzunköprü district, according to the sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Greece has been the favorite gateway for suspects linked to the group, though most prefer land routes in Turkey's northwest. The European country attracted more FETÖ fugitives after it refused to extradite soldiers involved in the 2016 coup attempt to Turkey after they hijacked a military helicopter and took shelter in Greece.
Over 8,000 FETÖ members have crossed into Greece in the past three years, according to authorities. Ankara has criticized the country for ignoring its calls for international cooperation against the terrorist group.
Greece has also been accused of being a favorite hideout for terrorists from the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and the PKK. Those fleeing Turkey have taken shelter in refugee camps in Lavrion near Athens under the guise of asylum-seekers, especially in the 1980s. Despite the closure of Lavrion in 2013 amid pressure from Turkey, Greece continues to be the primary destination for DHKP-C terrorists.
Athens has also rejected Ankara’s extradition requests for terrorists from groups advocating armed insurgency against the state and had been involved in armed attacks against Turkish security forces and political parties, in addition to other targets.
FETÖ and its United States-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which killed 251 people and injured 2,734.
Ankara accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Turkey was one of the first countries to declare Daesh a terrorist group.
The country has since been attacked by the organization multiple times. It has carried out at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks and four armed attacks, killing 315 people and injuring hundreds more.
In response, Turkey launched counterterrorism operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.