Turkey protests against Norway over giving Turkish soldiers asylum

Norway has granted political asylum to Turkish officers linked to the 15 July failed coup in the country.

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.

“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. “This is not an acceptable situation,” Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said. “Europe should not become a safe haven for coup plotters, for terrorists and murderers.” Speaking to reporters in Turkey’s southeastern province of Adiyaman, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said: “We are issuing a friendly warning to the Norwegian government: Turkey requests the extradition of these people.”

Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak slammed Norway for granting asylum to five Turkish military officers suspected of links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization. “This, unfortunately, in my opinion, is the first step that Europe, which suffered from civil wars that cost the lives of innocent people for hundreds of years […] is turning into that Dark Age again,” Kaynak told reporters Whereas, the former military representatives will now have the right to reside and work in Norway, according to their lawyer Kjell M. Brygfjeld, according to the media outlet Turkish Minute.

FETO, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, has been accused of orchestrating the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 249 people martyred and around 2,200 wounded.

Turkey’s government accuses the FETO terror 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.

Since the foiled coup, operations have been ongoing in the military, police, and judiciary, as well as in other state institutions across the country, to arrest suspects with alleged links to FETO.

Last month, an Interior Ministry spokesman said more than 130 Turkish citizens — including former soldiers, diplomats, and their family members — had sought asylum in Germany since the failed putsch.