Germany accepts 74% of asylum applications by FETÖ members, report says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 12.01.2020 16:58

German authorities have accepted the asylum applications of a vast majority of Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ)-linked and other terrorist suspects who fled Turkey following the July 15 failed coup attempt, a report said Sunday.

Known as a FETÖ safe haven, Germany has accepted 74% of the asylum applications submitted by FETÖ suspects, the Yeni Şafak daily reported.

The acceptance rate skyrocketed by 47.4%, growing from 8.2% to a whopping 74% since 2016, the report said, noting that some 11,423 individuals had sought asylum in the country in the past year.

A hub for the terrorist group's financial, media, judicial and military-linked activities following the coup attempt, Germany allows FETÖ members to carry out their activities freely, despite Turkey's opposition.

Meanwhile, the country also accepted the asylum application of 14% of terrorist PKK-linked individuals, the report said. Despite its international status as a terrorist organization, the PKK has enjoyed relative freedom in European cities and has a particularly strong presence in Germany.

Ankara has long criticized Berlin for not taking serious measures against the PKK and its affiliates in Germany, which use the country as a platform for fundraising, recruitment and spreading propaganda.

No matter how they arrived in Germany, legally or illegally, FETÖ members are granted temporary IDs once they apply. All members of the terrorist group apply for political asylum.

Germany also serves as a shelter for the staff of FETÖ-run schools in other countries. A number of teachers working at FETÖ-run schools who faced extradition to Turkey were granted asylum in Germany, while a FETÖ-linked association in Berlin took control of a school chain in Ethiopia in 2017 before the schools were about to be handed over to the control of Turkish authorities.

Turkey has accused the German government in the past of turning a blind eye to FETÖ. Bruno Kahl, head of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND), even described it as a "civil organization" in a 2017 statement.

Adil Öksüz, another important figure of the terrorist group, is also believed to be in Germany or at least stayed there for some time. Öksüz is accused of masterminding the coup attempt in 2016 upon the instruction of FETÖ's U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen and remains at large since the coup attempt was quelled.

Relations between the two NATO allies hit a new low following a failed coup in 2016. Ankara has criticized Berlin for not handing over suspects linked to FETÖ for their role in the failed coup that killed 250 people and injured 2,200 others.

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