Nearly 300 Turkish diplomats, soldiers seeking asylum in Germany after coup attempt

DAILY SABAH WITH REUTERS
ISTANBUL
Published 03.04.2017 17:05

At least 262 Turkish diplomats and army personnel have applied for asylum in Germany since a coup attempt was carried out by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on July 15.

The number of Turkish citizens seeking asylum in Germany rose dramatically after the failed coup and Turkey has warned its NATO ally to reject applications from soldiers it suspects of having links to the FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen, who lives in self-exile in Pennsylvania, U.S.

Annegret Korff, a German Interior Ministry spokeswoman, said 151 applicants had diplomatic passports and 111 had no-fee passports, which were issued by governments to military personnel and other civil servants who are on official travel assignments.

She did not specify whether the 262 also included diplomats' families, who would also have diplomatic status.

"Those figures are not actually statistically sound because they are based on the voluntary statements of the asylum applicants," Korff told a regular government news conference, suggesting the real number could be higher.

Germany has recently infuriated Turkey by canceling several campaign rallies that were to be held by Turkish ministers on German soil, drawing accusations from Turkey of "Nazi" tactics.

The German government said in December that 5,166 Turkish citizens had applied for asylum in the first 11 months of last year, compared with 1,767 applications received in the whole of 2015.

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık urged Germany in January to reject asylum applications from 40 mostly high-ranking former soldiers suspected by Ankara of having links to the coup.

The Gülenist July 15 coup attempt left more than 240 people dead and more than 2,000 others injured. The attempt was thwarted the following day, resulting in failure for the Gülenists.

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