Two Turkish generals who are accused of taking part in a failed military coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 applied for asylum in Germany on Tuesday night, the German Bild daily reported on Wednesday.
The paper said that after the initial processing of their applications, the generals would be taken to a refugee camp in the German town of Giessen.
According to a report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel in early May, at least 450 Turkish diplomats, military personnel, judges and other civil servants have been seeking asylum in Germany in a bid to escape a post-coup crackdown back home.
“Currently the Federal office for migration and refugees [BAMF] considers relevant about 450 applications from Turkish diplomats, military personnel, judges and other civil servants,” Der Spiegel reported, saying that most of them are linked to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt.
More than 7,700 Turkish citizens have applied for asylum in Germany in total, according to the report.
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.
The military coup attempt killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.