35 suspected Gülenist Turkish diplomats seek asylum in Germany
BERLIN – Anadolu Agency
REUTERS photoDozens of Turkish diplomats, military officers and their families have sought asylum in Germany since the July 15 coup attempt, local officials have said.
The Interior Ministry said 35 Turkish diplomatic passport holders had formally applied for asylum.
The information, given in response to a parliamentary question, did not give any details about the asylum seekers’ identities, positions or status of their applications.
Turkey recalled scores of diplomats and military staff in the wake of a foiled coup on July 15 over suspected ties to the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which is believed to have organized the attempted military takeover.
Many suspects sought asylum in European countries, including the military attaché in Berlin, Col. Ayhan Dağlı.
The Interior Ministry said any extradition request by the Turkish government would be examined on a case-by-case basis by higher regional courts.
Germany, which has a 3 million strong Turkish community, is among the countries where followers of the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen have a large network with dozens of private schools, businesses and media organizations.
Last month Turkey officially asked the German authorities to locate, arrest and hand over two high-profile prosecutors, Zekeriya Öz and Celal Kara, who are accused of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government.
They played a key role in a controversial anti-corruption probe in late 2013 that targeted the upper reaches of government.
Germany views Gülenists with suspicion but the group is not outlawed in the country, with the authorities stressing that such a move could only come with concrete evidence of criminality.