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Turkish diplomats ask for asylum in Germany

German authorities face at least 136 asylum requests from Turkish citizens bearing diplomatic passports, following the failed coup in Turkey. Berlin's response might worsen the already tense relations with Ankara.

Germany is still receiving asylum applications from Turkey over the July 2016 coup attempt, a research group of broadcasters WDR and NDR and the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper reported on Friday.

"The government is aware of 136 asylum applications filed by diplomatic passport holders from Turkey. They also include family members," the German Interior Ministry said in response to a query from a Green party lawmaker.

The report includes data from between August 2016 and January 2017. However, the officials did not specify how many of the asylum seekers were career diplomats or soldiers, in contrast to their family members who also hold diplomatic passports.

Pressure from Erdogan

Last month, news magazine "Der Spiegel" and public broadcaster ARD reported that dozens of Turkish officers applied for asylum for fear of being arrested upon returning home.

In a subsequent meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Merkel to extradite the soldiers.

Foreign soldiers stationed in NATO-bases are also entitled to a diplomatic passport.

Never-ending purge

On Friday, German public broadcaster ARD reported that "the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees apparently did not make a decision in any of the cases."

Accepting the asylum seekers would almost definitely trigger an embittered response from Ankara, which also reacted angrily in a similar dispute with Greece.

Turkey has launched a massive purge of state institutions and the military following the deadly coup attempt last summer. Around 100,000 people lost their jobs and tens of thousands were arrested during the crackdown.

Watch video 05:40

Turkish military officers flee Erdogan

dj/se (AP, AFP, dpa)

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