BERLIN (AP) – Germany is continuing to receive requests for asylum from Turks with diplomatic passports in the wake of a crackdown on the opposition following last year’s failed coup, the Interior Ministry said Friday.
At least 136 people with Turkish diplomatic passports are currently applying for asylum, said Tobias Plate, a ministry spokesman, who was responding to German media reports. He didn’t confirm reports by public broadcaster NDR and daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the figure had stood at 53 in November.
It wasn’t clear how many were diplomats and how many were family members, and there was no indication how many applications had been processed.
The situation has caused diplomatic tension between the two countries. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed Chancellor Angela Merkel at a meeting this month to reject asylum requests and extradite 40 soldiers allegedly involved in the failed July 15 coup.
Germany denounced the coup attempt but has been critical of the far-reaching crackdown that followed, which saw tens of thousands of government employees lose their jobs and thousands imprisoned.
The overall number of asylum applications from Turkey rose from 1,800 in 2014 to 4,600 in 2015, and 5,700 last year. Most of those who applied for asylum in 2016 said they belonged to the Kurdish ethnic minority, Plate said.