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Turkish diplomats working in Consulate in Thessaloniki have disappeared, says Ankara

A Turkish diplomat couple working in Greece has allegedly disappeared. Ankara considers the couple as suspects of being members of the organization of  US-based preacher Fetullah Gulen whom turkey believes to be the mastermind behind the failed coup in July 2016.

Citing diplomatic sources, Turkish media write that Muhammet T. and Ceyda T.  who worked as deputy consuls and are suspected of being members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) have disappeared since May 2 2017.

Since Tuesday Turkish authorities have not been able to reach the couple, Muhammet T. and Ceyda T. who have been working at Turkey’s consulate general in Greek city of Thessaloniki for the last 18 months as deputy consuls, the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking with the media.

According to the source, the couple, whose passports have been canceled, had left Greece and their whereabouts are unknown.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen are accused of orchestrating the defeated July 2016 coup in Turkey, which left 249 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.

Following the coup bid, Turkey introduced a state of emergency which dismissed or suspended tens of thousands of FETÖ-linked public servants from their jobs.

Many FETÖ supporters have attempted to flee the country through the use of human smugglers and fake passports.

After the immediate arrest of military personnel accused of making the coup attempt on 15. July 2016, arrests were expanded to include further elements of the Turkish military service, as well as various civil servants and private businesses. These later actions, reflecting a power struggle between secularist and Islamist political elites in Turkey, which began to be known as a purge, affected people who were not active in nor aware of the coup as it happened, but who were alleged to be connected with the Gülen movement, a group which the government blames for the coup.

Tens of thousands of public servants and soldiers were purged in the first week following the coup. From July 2016 to April 2017,  over 160,000 officials have been dismissed, detained, arrested or suspended.

The Turkish purges also extend to the media with television channels, newspapers and other press outlets being shut down, journalists being arrested and Wikipedia being blocked since April 2017.

Since early September, the post-coup emergency state allowed a turn against Kurdish groups, most notably with the dismissal of about 12,000 Kurdish teachers and 24 elected mayors and arrest of the co-chairs of the HDP for alleged links with PKK terrorism.

Hundreds of Turkish citizens, among them members of the Turkish Armed Forces sought refugee in European countries and the USA.

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