More than 430 Turkish citizens apply for political asylum in Germany

A total of 217 Turkish citizens with a diplomatic passport and 220 people, including military officers, with a service passport have applied for political asylum in Germany since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, said the German Interior Ministry deputy spokesperson Lisa Haeger on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin, Haeger said that the number of political asylum seekers was based on Federal Office for Migration and Refugees data from May 17. Haeger has also underlined that family members were included in the 437 applications, adding that German authorities gave approval in only a few cases.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Martin Schaefer has stressed that Turkey was an important NATO ally despite some differences in the interpretation of shared values. “There is no doubt that Turkey is a crucial partner for us within the NATO alliance. Europe’s security is also under threat at its southeastern wing,” Schaefer said, adding that the threats posed by ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, especially the Syrian Civil War, may have not been recognized enough by European communities.

German-Turkish relations have been strained over the past months, after German local authorities canceled political rallies of Turkish ministers and government officials campaigning ahead of the April 16 referendum in several German towns and cities.

In response to Germany’s attitude towards Turkish deputies during the recent constitutional referendum period, a German parliamentary delegation was not allowed to visit the İncirlik Air Base in Turkey’s southern Adana province, where German troops are stationed.

The coup attempt on July 15, 2016 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

May 26, 2017

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