Norway grants asylum to four Turkish NATO military officers, military attaché after coup attempt
AFP photoFour Turkish soldiers who were on duty with NATO, as well as a military attaché, have been granted asylum in Norway following their application after the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt, triggering a strong reaction from the Turkish government.
Kjell M. Brygfjeld, the lawyer of the soldiers and the military attaché, confirmed that the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration accepted their asylum application.
The soldiers and the military attaché had previously denied any connection with the attempted takeover in an interview with the Norwegian daily VG and said they had already been dismissed from their posts, while also fearing that they would face prosecution upon their return.
The asylum also enables the soldiers to acquire residential and work permits in the country.
Turkey and Norway are both allies in NATO.
Along with the soldiers and the military attaché, Oslo also accepted the asylum applications of their family members. They have reportedly been residing in a secret address in the country.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş slammed Norway on March 22 for the asylum decision on the five people allegedly linked to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which is accused of perpetrating the July 2016 coup attempt.
“It’s not possible to accept this. This is wrong. This means protecting and defending this gang known as FETÖ. We say that we do not accept this,” Kurtulmuş told Anadolu Agency on March 22.
“The immediate extradition of these FETÖ bandits who have been seeking and will seek asylum in European countries is a necessity for the friendly relationship between Turkey and these countries,” he said.
Recalling that some people in Turkey had criticized the fact that coup plotters had been taken to court in Turkey in decent clothing, Kurtulmuş said, “If [a coup had happened] in Norway, would they take them to the court in the same way?”
A number Turkish diplomats and officers serving abroad have sought asylum from mainly European countries in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt.
In January, Greece rejected Turkey’s extradition request for eight former soldiers, who had escaped to the country after the coup with a military helicopter, ruling that they would not receive a fair trial in Turkey and that their lives would be at risk if they were returned. The asylum application processes of the soldiers are continuing.
Several members of the Turkish military stationed at a NATO base in Germany have also sought asylum in the country to avoid returning to Turkey.