More than 1,000 Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) suspects holding Turkish diplomatic or service passports have applied for asylum in Germany since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, a German government report has said.
Since the failed coup attempt in Turkey in the summer of 2016, more than 1,000 diplomats and civil servants along with their families have sought asylum in Germany, according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in Nuremberg.
In total, 288 holders of diplomatic passports and 771 service passport holders have fled to Germany and applied for asylum at BAMF since the Gülenist coup attempt, as of March 7. The numbers reportedly include spouses and children. The exact number of applications from Turkish soldiers is not statistically recorded at the BAMF, the report said. Gülenist diplomats, high-ranking soldiers and public servants seeking asylum in Germany have caused friction on more than one occasion between Ankara and Berlin as Germany has granted safe haven to FETÖ members and putschists.
It was reported in early February that four people wanted by Ankara for their involvement in the 2016 coup attempt were granted asylum by Germany. One of them, İlhami Polat, is a former colonel who previously gave interviews to the German media and is wanted by Ankara for organizing the coup attempt at a military school in the capital.
He disappeared after the coup attempt was quelled. Prosecutors and eyewitnesses say he was responsible for the takeover of the Land Forces Command Military School and dispatching troops to the office of the Chief of General Staff to take over the military headquarters. Ankara has repeatedly condemned Berlin's decision to accept the asylum applications of former military personnel last year. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Germany has shown disregard for democratic principles by welcoming perpetrators of a coup attempt.
Ankara singles Germany out among European countries for embracing hundreds of fugitive diplomats and soldiers accused of involvement in the coup. The U.S. is the second-most preferred destination for Gülenists fleeing their native Turkey, where the terrorist group's leader Gülen lives in a sprawling retreat in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. FETÖ said following the coup attempt that Germany would be their next headquarters. FETÖ's German imam, Ercan Karakoyun, said in an interview with the German Die Zeit newspaper: "The [Gülen] movement cannot survive in Turkey. Germany is to become the new center."