Four Turkish officers and a military attaché have been granted asylum in Norway after having applied for protection after the attempted coup last summer.
The officers’ lawyer Kjell M. Brygfjeld has confirmed this to the newspaper Klassekampen.
All five were stationed in Norway when a part of the Turkish military tried to take power in Turkey on July 15th last year. All claim that they had nothing to do with the attempted coup, writes the newspaper.
In January, they said to VG that they had lost their jobs and were told to return to their home country. Instead, they chose to stay in Norway and seek asylum.
– It is impossible to return now. I am dismissed from my service in Norway, and my passport is canceled. If I go back, I will immediately be arrested, and I risk torture and being forced to give false confessions. In Turkish prisons people die inexplicably, one of them said in the interview.
The Norwegian decision is startling, as Turkey and Norway are both allies in NATO. All five are now living at a secret address in Norway. According to Klassekampen, their family members have also received asylum in this country.
Ambassador Ülkü Kocaefe from the Turkish Embassy in Oslo told VG in January that the ex-officers’ fear is not rooted in reality.
In January President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan informed that around 43,000 people had been arrested during the past six months since the attempted coup.
Those arrested are accused of having ties to the religious leader Fethullah Gülen, who lives in exile in the United States. Erdogan has accused Gülen of being behind the coup, although Gülen himself has rejected the accusation.
Regime critics say the arrests extend far beyond any connection to Gülen, and have pointed out that regular opposition and journalists are among those arrested.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today