Turkey protests against Norway giving officers asylum

Ambassador to Ankara summoned after Norway grants political asylum to Turkish officers allegedly linked to failed coup.

Attempted coup d''etat in Turkey
Thousands of people have been arrested since the July coup bid that left 249 people dead [Tolga Bozoglu/EPA]

The Norwegian ambassador to Ankara has been summoned to Turkey’s foreign ministry after Norway granted political asylum to five former Turkish military officers allegedly involved in a July coup attempt, a ministry spokesperson said.

The asylum seekers, who had been ordered to return to Turkey, include a former military attache and four military officers who worked at a NATO education centre in Norway, state-run Anadolu Agency said on Wednesday.

“It is saddening and unacceptable to see an allied country supporting the efforts of individuals who were recalled from their state duty and who abused the political, social, and economic resources of their country of residence instead of returning to Turkey,” said a statement by foreign ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu.

Newspaper Verdens Gang said the group feared being arrested in Turkey. 

In 2016, some 89 people from Turkey applied for asylum in Norway – with peaks in September and October when 17 and 28 people sought shelter respectively.

Since the July 15 coup attempt, some 40,000 people have been arrested in Turkey and more than 100,000 sacked or suspended from the military, civil service and private sector, while others have sought asylum abroad.

Ankara says the failed coup, which left 249 people dead, was orchestrated by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey’s government accuses Gulen’s network of staging the coup attempt as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Source: News Agencies