Germany grants asylum to Turkish officers

Two Turkish soldiers salute.

Germany has approved a number of asylum requests lodged by high ranking Turkish military officers alleged by Turkey to have taken part in the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2017, reports the Turkish daily Evrensel.

414 Turkish citizens holding diplomatic passports have applied for political asylum in Germany along with their families between July 2016 and May 2017. In addition to military officers, asylum seekers include judges, prosecutors and other high-level bureaucrats.

A report published in the German daily Suddeutscher Zeitung states that most of the asylum requests by military officers have been approved after the result of the 16 April 2017 referendum on constitutional reforms granting sweeping powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) denied that the referendum outcome have affected their decision to grant asylum to the Turkish nationals, according to the report.

Most of the military officers whose asylum requests were approved were stationed in NATO bases in Germany or other European countries as well as in Africa.

The German Federal Ministry of Interior has confirmed that the asylum requests were approved.

The approvals could pave the way for other European countries to follow Germany’s example, analysts say. Belgian press has already reported that many Turkish officers stationed in the NATO headquarters in Brussels have applied for political asylum in Belgium.