7, October 2016
Media reports say three Turkish diplomats have applied for asylum in Germany in the wake of Ankara’s crackdown on individuals suspected of involvement in the failed coup of July 15. Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper and public broadcasters NDR and WDR quoted government sources as saying that a military attaché was among the diplomats.
Following the coup attempt, Ankara recalled an unspecified number of diplomatic passports. Representatives of the German Interior Ministry told lawmakers at the lower house of parliament that three Turkish diplomats in Germany had submitted asylum applications, the media outlets said.
However, the daily quoted government sources as saying that the number of Turkish diplomats seeking asylum may have increased, adding that the asylum applications were still undecided.
The diplomats are suspected of having links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating the abortive coup. Gulen has condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement.
Since the coup was declared over on July 16, Turkey began its harsh crackdown on those believed to have played a role in the failed coup. Reports say about 100,000 people have been discharged or suspended from their jobs. Nearly 32,000 people were also jailed pending trial during the crackdown.
Relations between Ankara and Berlin have strained since the German parliament passed a resolution in June, recognizing the Armenian “genocide” at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I.
The bilateral relations between the two countries further strained after the post-coup crackdown as Berlin expressed its concern over the measures taken by Ankara in response to the situation. Germany, however, is dependent on Ankara in curbing the influx of refugees into Europe.
The European Union and Turkey signed a deal in March, under which Turkey committed to taking back all the asylum seekers and refugees that used the Aegean Sea to illegally reach Greece.