Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has called on Germany to make a choice between Ankara and alleged coup plotters who have sought asylum in the country in the aftermath of a failed coup in Turkey on July 15.
Based on information from the German Interior Ministry, several German media outlets jointly reported last week that applications filed by Turkish citizens who hold diplomatic passports have been evaluated and that some of the military officers included in that group were granted political asylum status.
The development has angered Ankara, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry releasing a statement later last week voicing its regrets over Germany’s decision to grant asylum to the Turkish officers.
Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Yıldırım said Turkish-German relations, which were strained before a public referendum in Turkey on April 16 but improved thanks to the positive messages from both sides following the referendum, were strained once again when Germany granted asylum to the Turkish officers.
“Germany has to make a decision now. If it wants to improve relations [with Turkey], then it needs to turn its face not toward separatists, FETÖ supporters, but to Turkey,” Yıldırım said.
FETÖ is a derogatory word used by the Turkish government and its supporters to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup.
Prior to the April 16 referendum, Turkey’s relations with some European countries including Germany were strained due to these countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to hold campaign rallies for Turkish expatriates.
A constitutional reform package that was voted in the referendum introduced an executive presidency in Turkey, receiving the support of 51.4 percent of the electorate.