Turkish karate group seeks asylum in Germany
BERLIN - ReutersEleven Turkish nationals in a martial arts group have applied for asylum in Germany after police determined they had not come to take part in a karate tournament, as they had said, a police spokesman said on Dec. 10.
The group numbered 14 on arrival at Dusseldorf airport on a flight from Istanbul on Dec. 9, but German police determined during checks that they were not going to a tournament and suspected that one of them was a people smuggler.
“Two voluntarily flew back to Turkey,” a spokesman for the federal police stated, adding that the suspected smuggler, who was Turkish, was detained by police.
The remaining 11, compromising 10 adults and one child, were taken to a reception center for asylum seekers. The police spokesman did not say on what grounds they sought asylum.
In October, the German Interior Ministry said 35 Turkish citizens with diplomatic passports had applied for asylum after a failed military coup in Turkey in July.
German-Turkish relations have been strained over a series of issues, including Berlin’s criticism of mass arrests in Turkey and Ankara’s crackdown on the media, as well as charges by Turkey that Germany is a safe haven for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).