Turkey has issued a diplomatic note to the German government after recent media reports claimed a key figure linked to last year's defeated coup attempt applied for asylum in Germany, Anadolu Agency has learned.
Adil Oksuz, a theology professor charged by the Turkish authorities with being an influential figure within the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), is also said to be among the masterminds of the July 2016 attempted military takeover.
Oksuz was arrested in Turkey on the morning of July 16, 2016 but was subsequently released and has since disappeared.
A senior Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Turkey delivered a diplomatic note to Germany over the weekend, asking whether claims made in various Turkish newspapers last week were true.
Several newspapers claimed Oksuz had been seen in the German cities of Frankfurt and Ulm in February this year by a number of Turkish residents.
The Yeni Safak daily also reported last week that Turkey's most wanted fugitive had applied for asylum in the southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.
Ankara has informed the German authorities that Oksuz is one of the prime suspects of the July 15 defeated coup attempt and an international fugitive.
The Turkish side has demanded the German authorities investigate the claims made in recent media reports and, if these are proven to be true, take the necessary measures to arrest Oksuz and send him to Turkey for trial.
Germany Foreign Ministry sources confirmed Turkey's diplomatic action but they said the ministry had no information so far to indicate Oksuz was in Germany.
Since the 2016 defeated coup attempt, nearly 4,000 FETO suspects have come to Germany from Turkey and other countries, according to local media reports.
Several FETO suspects, including former soldiers and diplomats, have applied for asylum in various German federal states.
Berlin has so far declined to share information with Turkey on the identities of these asylum seekers, citing its obligations under international treaties protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in recent months as Turkish leaders accused Germany of not showing strong solidarity with Turkey after the July 2016 defeated coup attempt.
Ankara has also accused the German authorities of turning a blind eye to the activities of outlawed groups and terrorist organizations.
In Germany, which is home to more than three million Turkish immigrants, FETO has a large network with dozens of private schools, businesses and media organizations.
Despite repeated requests by Ankara to arrest leading FETO figures, the German authorities have turned down extradition requests and argued that Ankara should first provide legally sound evidence.
Despite widespread suspicions, the German authorities had been reluctant so far to curb activities of FETO, also known as the Gulenists in the country, and underlined they would only act in receipt of evidence which suggested these institutions were carrying out activities that violate German law.
Gulenists have been careful so far not to attract criticism from the German public and have particularly focused on interfaith dialogue programs, giving moderate messages to win the trust of the media, influential churches and political institutions.
Source: Anadolu Agency