Well-known German daily Bild reported Wednesday that two senior Turkish generals applied for asylum in Germany at Frankfurt Airport Tuesday. The newspaper claimed that the two generals are thought to be involved in last year's July 15 coup attempt and indicated that after a preliminary evaluation of their applications, the duo will be placed at temporary settlement zones. Meanwhile, Germany's welcoming attitude toward coup plotters who fled Turkey has stirred up tension between the two countries. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım Tuesday said Germany must choose between Turkey or members of Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), who perpetrated the deadly coup attempt, if it wants to improve bilateral relations.
"If it [Germany] wants to improve relations with Turkey and strengthen the historical friendship, then it needs to face Turkey rather than FETÖ," said Yıldırım regarding previous asylum applications from the FETÖ suspects.
Last week, Germany granted political asylum to a number of Turkish military personnel and their families who held diplomatic passports and have suspected links to FETÖ, German media reported.
Ankara and Berlin hold a differing opinion on several issues, including the fight against the outlawed PKK terrorist group and FETÖ.
Earlier in February, at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Merkel, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized German authorities for the lack of a speedy process in extraditing members of FETÖ.
Meanwhile, the two Turkish officials seeking asylum Tuesday are thought to be former officers who worked abroad in NATO missions and have links to Germany, where they were previously assigned by the Turkish military.
FETÖ has long posed as a religious charity movement to attract followers and managed to recruit followers around the world, establishing a global network of schools and companies on nearly every continent, spanning from the far corners of Africa to the U.S. state of California.
In the wake of the deadly coup attempt on July 15, Turkey has worked tirelessly to locate FETÖ members abroad, focusing on the commercial entities of the terrorist cult.
In the meantime, many European countries have been blamed for harboring supporters of other terrorist groups. They, unlike Arab and Asian countries, failed to respond to Turkey's extradition requests.
Germany can be singled out among European countries for embracing at least 250 fugitive diplomats and soldiers, accused of involvement in the coup with suspected links to FETÖ.
Ankara has vowed to bring all FETÖ suspects to justice in the aftermath of the coup attempt that lay bare just how desperate the terrorist group was to seize power in the face of a crackdown.
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