German officials have said that 35 Turkish diplomats and family members with suspected links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) have applied for asylum in Germany since the July 15 failed military coup attempt in Turkey.
The Parliamentary Secretary of the Interior Ministry Günter Krings responded to a question from Özcan Mutlu of the Green Party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) during a parliamentary session last week, when Mutlu asked: "How many Turkish diplomats have applied for asylum in Germany since the failed coup attempt in Turkey, and how does the German government deal with possible extradition requests from Turkey?"
"After the attempted coup in Turkey, 35 persons with diplomatic passports have submitted an asylum application to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). These figures also include family members (spouses and children)," Krings responded.
German Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth declined Monday to say how many of the 35 asylum seekers were diplomats and how many were family members, citing privacy rules.
He also said that since diplomatic status isn't normally part of the asylum application the actual figure might be higher.
Germany has a large Turkish minority, numbering more than 3 million, due to decades of migration of laborers and Turks claiming persecution at home.
Germany is among the countries where Gülenists carry out significant activities through dozens of private schools, business associations and media organizations.
Despite widespread suspicions, German authorities have been reluctant so far to curb the Gülenists' activities, underlining that they would only act if they received concrete evidence suggesting that these institutions were engaged in activities that violate the constitution and laws of Germany.
The failed July 15 coup attempt, which left 241 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured, was organized by followers of Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile on a 400-acre property in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania since 1999. Gülen has led a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what the government has called the parallel structure.