Germany grants asylum to Turkish military personnel: reports

Germany has granted political asylum to numerous Turkish military personnel and their families holding diplomatic passports, German media reported on Monday, amid strained relations between the two NATO allies.

Germany grants asylum to Turkish military personnel: reports
Turkish soldiers in Adana during a visit by former German President Joachim Gauck in 2014. Photo: DPA

The German interior ministry was not immediately available for comment, but according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily and public broadcasters WDR and NDR, authorities confirmed that Germany gave positive responses to the asylum petitions of these Turkish nationals.

The interior ministry said last month that it had received 262 applications for political asylum from Turkish nationals holding diplomatic passports, but it did not say how many of the requests came from Turkish military personnel stationed at NATO bases.

Since the July 2016 failed coup in Turkey, 414 military personnel, diplomats, judges and other high-ranking Turkish officials have sought political asylum in Germany, according to interior ministry figures published by the three German media. That number also includes family members.

The wave of asylum requests followed the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a subsequent crackdown, which has seen more than 100,000 people fired, suspended from their jobs, or detained over alleged links to the plotters or to Kurdish militants.

Last week, Turkey announced the sacking of over 100 judges and prosecutors. The weekend before, it had dismissed nearly 4,000 public officials under the state of emergency while over 9,100 police were suspended on April 26th.

Ties between Germany and Turkey plunged during the referendum campaign to grant Erdogan enhanced presidential powers and continued to take a hit with the arrest of a German-Turkish journalist for Die Welt daily, who was jailed in February on terror charges and is awaiting trial.

In parliament last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Ankara's arrest and treatment of Deniz Yucel was “incompatible with a constitutional state” and also warned Turkey to respect civil rights in keeping with a constitutional state.