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Turkey criticizes Norway for granting asylum to allegedly Gülen-linked soldiers

A senior Turkish government official has slammed Norway, a NATO ally, for granting asylum to four Turkish soldiers and a military attaché allegedly linked to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which is accused of perpetrating the July 2016 coup attempt.

“It’s not possible to accept this. This is wrong. This means protecting and defending this gang known as FETÖ. We say that we do not accept this,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told Anadolu Agency on March 22.

“The immediate extradition of these FETÖ bandits who have been seeking and will seek asylum in European countries is a necessity for the friendly relationship between Turkey and these countries,” he said.

Recalling that some people in Turkey had criticized the fact that coup plotters had been taken to court in Turkey in decent clothing, Kurtulmuş said, “If [a coup had happened] in Norway, would they take them to the court in the same way?”

A number Turkish diplomats and officers serving abroad have sought asylum from mainly European countries in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt.

Four Turkish soldiers who were on duty with the NATO, as well as a military attache, have been granted asylum in Norway following their application after the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.

Kjell M. Brygfjeld, the lawyer of the soldiers and the military attaché, confirmed that The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration accepted their asylum application.

The asylum also enables the soldiers’ residential and work permit in the country.

Turkey and Norway both are allies in NATO.

The soldiers and the military attache had previously denied any connection with the attempted takeover in an interview with the Norwegian daily VG and said they had already been dismissed from their posts, while also fearing that they would face prosecution upon their return.

Along with the soldiers and the military attache, Oslo also accepted the asylum applications of their family members. They have reportedly been residing in a secret address in the country.

In January, Greece had rejected Turkey’s extradition request for eight former soldiers, who had escaped to the country after July 15, 2016 by a military helicopter, citing that they would not get fair trial in Turkey and their lives would be at risk if returned.  The asylum application processes of the soldiers are ongoing.

Several members of the Turkish military stationed at a NATO base in southeast Germany had also sought asylum in the country to avoid returning to Turkey.


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