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Report: 89 Turkish citizens sought asylum in Norway in 2016

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A Norwegian newspaper reported on Friday that 89 Turkish citizens had applied for asylum in Norway in 2016, including military officers and diplomats, saying they fear for their safety if they return to Turkey.

The VG daily published a story explaining that most of the asylum seekers submitted applications after a failed coup on July 15 as they had been recalled to Turkey on accusations of coup plotting.

The diplomats and officers denied the charges of coup involvement and told the Norwegian media that they would face arrest and torture if they were to return home.

Following the botched coup, international watchdogs issued several credible reports of torture of people held in detention.

An dismissed Turkish official seeking asylum told VG, “If I go back, I will immediately be arrested and risk torture and being forced to make false statements,” adding that “in Turkish prisons, people die for unknown reasons.”

In an effort to prove the risks awaiting in Turkey, this asylum seeker also mentioned a colleague who chose to go back and was immediately arrested at passport control.

Commenting on the issue, a Turkish diplomat in Oslo argued that the officers have nothing to fear despite a relentless purge at home. The chargé d’affaires at the Turkish Embassy in Oslo, Ülkü Kocaefe, also claimed that “the Turkish state has many judicial mechanisms that protect people’s rights.” She even added that if the asylum seekers refuse to return to Turkey, there might be some validity to the charges.

NATO officials had earlier announced that Turkish military members in Brussels were also seeking asylum due to similar fears.

According to a report in Deutsche Welle (DW) on Nov. 15, most of the 60 Turkish diplomatic passport holders who are seeking asylum in Germany in the post-coup period are military personnel who were representing Turkey at NATO.

Given the fact that the military personnel at NATO have classified information regarding Turkey, which is a NATO ally, German officials are reportedly evaluating their applications with sensitivity.

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