Number of asylum seekers from Turkey in Norway rises sharply
VALLETTA / ISTANBUL
When Gülizar Taşdemir (R) was stopped in Istanbul, the authorities seized two mobile phones, documents relating to the PKK and photographs of her with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan (L), who is serving a life sentence following his capture in 1999, Anadolu Agency reported.
Norway says the number of asylum seekers from Turkey has increased noticeably in recent weeks and officials say it will take time to process them because Oslo needs to check other countries’ practices in similar cases, the Associated Press reported on July 5.
Frode Forfang, head of Norway’s Directorate of Immigration, says many have claimed political persecution at home because of links to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.
The Gülen network, which the Turkish authorities refer to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), is widely believed to have orchestrated the failed coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.
The agency said that 245 Turkish nationals have sought shelter in Norway so far in 2018, including 142 arriving in June.
That compares to a total of 164 Turkish nationals who sought asylum in Norway in 2017.
Forfang said on July 5 that “most of them” have been granted protection in the past.
Meanwhile, the Turkish authorities on July 5 arrested a woman who is allegedly a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after Norway had rejected her asylum claim and she was eventually deported, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Gülizar Taşdemir, 42, was arrested at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.
During her body search, police seized two cellphones, two SIM cards, three flash memory cards, digital material and documents related to the group, and photographs shot alongside the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, Anadolu Agency reported.
Recruited by the PKK in 1991, Taşdemir received armed training at the Mahmur camp, Iraq, and was with Öcalan for many years, the agency added.
In 2013, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the eastern province of Erzurum had issued an arrest warrant for Taşdemir for membership of an armed terror group.