by WorldTribune Staff, November 22, 2016
A number of Turkish military officers stationed in NATO outposts have requested asylum in the wake of the failed coup attempt in July, according to NATO’s secretary-general.
“Some Turkish officers working in the NATO command structure… have requested asylum in the countries where they are working,” Jens Stoltenberg said on Nov. 18.
Stoltenberg gave no names, numbers or reasons for the requests and said the countries involved will consider the cases individually.
More than 400 Turkish military staff and diplomats have been summoned back to Ankara, according to documents seen by Reuters, but some are choosing not to return, fearing imprisonment without charge.
Most say they have had almost no contact with lawyers or family members.
Germany’s Office for Migration and Refugees said on Nov. 18 it had received 4,437 political asylum requests from Turkish citizens up to the end of October, compared to 1,767 for the whole of last year.
Meanwhile UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye warned of a “grim” climate in Turkey since the failed coup.
He said: “The conclusions I would say are fairly grim and reflect what I think is a deep sense of restriction on freedom of opinion and expression throughout the country.”
Turkey has fired, suspended, detained or arrested tens of thousands of people since the July coup attempt. Many have been in the military, although others are teachers, policemen, judges and journalists.