Erdoğan proposed swapping Turkish asylum seekers for jailed Germans

Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in September proposed to Berlin a swap of some Turks who took refuge in Germany for German citizens who are jailed in Turkey, Deutsche Welle reported on Friday.

According to a Der Spiegel report, Erdoğan proposed the swap of jailed German journalist Deniz Yücel and other German citizens in Turkey for Turkish officers who have sought asylum in Germany following a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Erdoğan floated his proposal to former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who visited Turkey at the end of September to seek the release of German activist Peter Steudtner.

Schröder visited Turkey upon the request of Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and with the approval of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who met with Schröder before his visit to Turkey.

Steudtner was released from İstanbul’s Silivri Prison on Oct. 26.

Some 600 senior Turkish officials have sought asylum in Germany since the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported on Oct. 14.

The Berliner Morgenpost reported that the more than 600 asylum applicants comprised 250 persons with Turkish diplomatic passports and 380 with identity papers showing them to be senior Turkish public servants.

The daily said it had obtained the figures from Germany’s Interior Ministry, which in September said 196 Turks with diplomatic passports had been granted asylum in Germany.

That count did not include members of Turkey’s military, including NATO attachés, who have also sought asylum.

The coup attempt on July 15 killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the faith-based Gülen movement.

Contrary to accusations made by Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, on March 18 said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen was behind the failed coup attempt on July 15.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016 through government decrees issued as part of the state of emergency.

Amid an ongoing witch-hunt targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Nov. 16 said eight holdings and 1,020 companies had been seized as part of operations against the movement. (

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