615 Turkish civil servants have applied for asylum in Germany

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Monday said 615 Turkish civil servants have asked for political asylum in Germany since a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, Deutsche Welle reported.

The German minister, who spoke to Rhein Zeitung, said 250 of 615 civil servants have diplomatic passports while 365 have service passports.

Die Welt reported in August that more than 6,700 Turkish citizens have applied for asylum in Germany since the coup attempt in Turkey. According to data from the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), a total of 3,206 Turkish nationals applied for asylum in Germany in the first six months of 2017.

Meanwhile, a German foreign ministry spokesman said that a German couple of Turkish origin were detained in İstanbul on Sunday, Deutsche Welle reported. According to the report, one of them is still being kept in detention while the other is prohibited from leaving Turkey.

Spokesman Martin Schaefer said Germany has received no official information on the matter, yet the random detentions by Turkey have caused the “utmost concern.”

“The nightmare facing so many German citizens who wanted nothing but to spend their vacation in Turkey is continuing. … It can hit anyone who thinks about entering Turkey. A person doesn’t think they’re in danger, and suddenly they’re in a Turkish prison,” said Schaefer, not elaborating on the reasons for the detentions.

Another German couple of Turkish origin was arrested in Antalya last month. The man is still under detention while the woman was released.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning on Saturday for citizens visiting Germany, saying there has been anti-Turkish and racist rhetoric by German politicians during campaigns for the upcoming elections, also adding that Berlin has been supporting terrorist groups.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel mocked the travel warning issued by Turkey for citizens visiting Germany and brought to mind the rule of law and freedoms in Germany.

The foreign ministry accused Germany of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkish authorities of masterminding a failed coup last year.

Ankara’s ties with Berlin deteriorated rapidly especially after the failed coup since Turkey accused Germany of harboring people linked to the Gülen movement who fled a government witch-hunt back home.

The ties became further strained after Turkey put several German citizens, including journalists and human rights defenders, in pretrial detention.

At least 12 German nationals are currently being held in Turkish jails, the victims of politically motivated detentions. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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