December 5, 2017 / 3:13 PM / 9 months ago

Turkey investigates reports that folk dancers sought asylum

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey is investigating reports that 11 Turkish folk dancers applied for asylum after attending a folk dance festival in the Hungarian capital Budapest, state-run news agency Anadolu said.

Ankara prosecutors have launched an investigation into the dancers, who received special passports to attend the festival, as only five dancers of a group of 16 returned to Turkey.

It was not clear where the remaining dancers may have sought asylum. The Hungarian Immigration Office said they did not submit asylum requests in Hungary, but gave no further details.

The folk dance team from Ankara arrived on Nov 1, four days before the event, the private Dogan News Agency said. The team had previously attended an event in Bosnia and Herzegovina in July, and the whole team had returned to Turkey afterwards, according to media reports.

It was not immediately clear why the dancers sought refuge. Turkey has jailed more than 50,000 people in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt last year and is seeking thousand of others for alleged ties to the coup.

Additional reporting by Gergely Szakacs in Budapest; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans

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