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BERLIN

Since the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey, more than 1,000 Turkish citizens — including former soldiers, officials, and their family members — have applied for asylum in Germany, local media reported on Sunday.

Through this March 7, some 288 Turkish citizens with diplomatic passports and 771 Turkish citizens with service passports have applied for asylum, German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung reported, based on data from the BAMF, the country’s immigration authority.

Most of the officials who applied for asylum were suspected of having ties to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which orchestrated the July 15,[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]2016 defeated coup in Turkey that left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

BAMF gave no information on the number of applications that went on to be approved by the authorities.

Ankara has long urged Berlin not to grant political asylum to former officials suspected of involvement in the deadly coup attempt, and to instead return them to Turkey for a fair and transparent trial at home.

Since the foiled coup attempt, Ankara has officially requested the extradition of dozens of suspected leading FETO figures, after courts issued arrest warrant for these suspects.

Germany, which is home to three million Turkish immigrants, is among the countries where FETO has a large network, including businesses, private schools, and media organizations.

Nearly 4,000 suspected FETO members have come to Germany since the coup attempt, according to group members’ statements on local media.

In Turkey, FETO carried out a long-running campaign to wrest control of the state through the infiltration of institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

But in Germany, FETO members have tried to avoid public criticism and have focused on “interfaith dialogue” programs, sticking to “moderate” messages, working to gain the confidence of the media, influential churches, and political institutions.

The group claims to have around 70,000 followers on German soil.

German authorities view FETO with suspicion but the group is not yet outlawed in the country, with the authorities stressing that such a move could only come with concrete evidence of acts against the laws and the constitution.

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