Germany’s immigration authority has rejected more than 5,000 asylum applications filed by Turkish citizens, local media reported on Wednesday.
German daily Tagesspiegel reported that the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) had ruled on 8,547 asylum applications in 2017 filed by Turkish citizens, and rejected 5,040 of them.
BAMF did not give details about the rejected applications, and officials said each one was evaluated on its own merit based on the German Asylum Act.
German diplomats said although asylum applications by Turkish citizens had increased since last year’s coup attempt in Turkey, the vast majority of asylum applications were filed by citizens of Kurdish origin.
The asylum applications of ex-officials involved in the attempted July 2016 military takeover in Turkey has been a source of growing tension between Ankara and Berlin.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said recently 615 Turkish citizens with diplomatic or service passports had applied for asylum in Germany.
After the foiled coup, several Turkish military officers stationed at NATO bases in Germany disobeyed orders from Ankara to return home.
Several other ex-soldiers and former officials with suspected ties to coup plotters also came to Germany from neighboring countries or Turkey, and applied for asylum.
The attempted military takeover, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, was orchestrated by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen.
Despite repeated requests by Ankara to return FETO suspects to Turkey for trial, the German authorities have so far turned down such requests, arguing that Ankara must first provide sound legal evidence.
Germany, which is home to three million Turkish immigrants, is among the countries where FETO has managed to organize a large network, including dozens of businesses, private schools, as well as media organizations.
The group, which is also known as Gulenists in the country, claims to have around 70,000 followers on German soil.
Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.