136 Turkish diplomats seek Germany asylum

Germany says it has received 136 asylum requests from Turks holding diplomatic passports since the July coup attempt against the Turkish president.

The figure is a total for the period August 2016 to January 2017, German media report.

Turkey has urged Germany not to grant asylum to any military officers. Some posted to Nato bases in Germany are thought to be among the group.

In Greece, two more Turkish soldiers have requested asylum.

The pair – reported to be commandos – are believed to have taken part in the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

They are in Greek police custody, having applied for asylum last week in Orestiada, a small border town near Turkey.

Last month a Greek court rejected Turkey’s request to extradite eight other Turkish soldiers who fled after the coup attempt. Turkey is appealing against that ruling.

The German interior ministry did not identify the 136 Turks who requested asylum. Not only diplomats but also their spouses and children hold diplomatic passports.

It is not clear if any of them have been granted asylum yet.

Soldiers who fled after the coup attempt fear that they will not get a fair trial in Turkey.

The Turkish authorities have dismissed at least 100,000 public servants, including teachers, police and members of the judiciary.

Tens of thousands of suspects are in detention. The crackdown is targeting suspected supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who lives in self-imposed exile in the US.

BBC/Nnenna.O