Turkish soldiers apply for asylum in Netherlands: report
At least 100 Turkish soldiers applied for asylum in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany since an attempted coup in Turkey last year, NOS and NRC reports. According to the Dutch news agencies, these are all soldiers who worked for NATO and were not in Turkey at the time of the failed military coup.
At the time of the coup about 700 Turkish troops worked for NATO. According to NOS and NRC, some 400 of them were added to a list of soldiers who cannot be trusted following the coup. These soldiers were ordered to return to Turkey, but most of them did not for fear of being arrested upon their arrival. The Turkish government decreed that those who did not return within three months would lose their Turkish nationality.
In the Netherlands, the number of Turkish asylum applications increased from 50 in 2015 to 235 last year. According to NRC, the Dutch immigration and naturalization service IND is handling asylum requests from Turks with the so-called "extended procedure". This means that the service has 18 months to make a decision on the application.
A spokesperson for the Turkish government said to NRC that the soldiers would have gotten a fair trial if they returned to Turkey. According to him, it would be "unacceptable" if the Netherlands grants these soldiers asylum and thereby prevents them from standing trial.