[…] Germany has become the top destination for political refugees from Turkey since the failed July 15, 2016 coup. Some 5,742 Turkish citizens applied for asylum here last year, more than three times as many as the year before, according to the Interior Ministry. Another 3,000 Turks have requested protection in Germany this year.
The figures include people fleeing a long-simmering conflict in the Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey, but the vast majority belong to a new class of political refugees: diplomats, civil servants, military members, academics, artists, journalists and anti-Erdogan activists accused of supporting the coup.
With many of them university-educated and part of the former elite, “their escape has already turned into a brain-drain for Turkey,” said Caner Aver, a researcher at the Center for Turkish Studies and Integration Research in Essen.
[…] The true number of recent Turkish arrivals to Germany exceeds official asylum requests. Many fleeing academics, artists and journalists came on scholarships from German universities or political foundations. Some got in via relatives. Others entered with visas obtained before the failed coup.
[…] The number of Turkish citizens fleeing to Germany has complicated the already tense relations between Ankara and Berlin. Accusing Germany of harboring terrorists, Turkey has demanded the extradition of escaped Turkish military officers and diplomats.
At least 221 diplomats, 280 civil servants and their families have applied for asylum, Germany says. Along with refusing to comply with the extradition requests, Germany has lowered the bar for Turkish asylum-seekers — those given permission to remain increased from 8 percent of applicants last year to more than 23 percent in the first half of 2017. […]
This article was originally published by abc-NEWS.