Turkish defense minister urges Germany to review stance on ‘Gülenist’ asylum seekers
Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık has urged his German counterpart to review the country’s stance on individuals who are suspected of being coup plotters and currently seeking asylum in Germany.
Speaking about Berlin’s recent decision on withdrawing its military installations in the İncirlik air base, in the southern province of Adana, Işık said Germany was responsible for planning the process of retreat. “Ankara would not allow anyone to accuse Turkey of harming the struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” Işık was quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency as saying.
“We have agreed with the German minister on the replacement [of troops] in a way that would not hinder the fight against Daesh,” Işık said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
“They made the decision. We asked them to reconsider the issues that caused them to make this decision,” he said, adding that he conveyed to his German counterpart that the struggle against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and Germany granting “political asylum to runaway individuals who betrayed the Turkish Armed forces” constituted a very serious public discontent in Turkey.
“We would never want to strain our relations with Germany, but we would expect Germany to pay attention to Turkey’s sensitivities,” he stated.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated sharply after a series of diplomatic rows.
Several Turkish soldiers and their families, all stationed at NATO facilities in Germany, were granted asylum, according to the German Interior Ministry. The military employees had filed for asylum in Germany after facing alleged persecution following the failed coup of July 15, 2016.
In retaliation, Ankara refused German MPs access to İncirlik for a visit to German troops deployed as part of the anti-ISIL coalition.