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Germany must choose between Ankara and alleged coup plotters: Turkish PM

16 May 2017

Speaking during a parliamentary group meeting at the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Yildirim called on Berlin to decide "whether it wants to improve relations with Turkey and strengthen historical ties of friendship" or take sides with the coup leaders.

Prosecutors in Turkey have issued arrest warrants for 85 staff at two ministries as part of a probe targeting the network of US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Ankara accuses of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup.

Asylum requests had been approved from a number of Turkish applicants with diplomatic passports, Germany's interior ministry has confirmed, although it declined to comment on media reports that soldiers were among those.

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Ankara has accused Gulen of orchestrating the abortive putsch.

According to Anadolu Agency, writing for the American news magazine Foreign Policy, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: "It is clear to the government of Turkey that the Pennsylvania cleric is a coup plotter".

Tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained over the past year due to a number of issues, including Germany's greenlight for asylum petitions of Turkish nationals blamed by Ankara for playing a role in the coup attempt.

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The asylum decision has already prompted Turkey to block a request for German lawmakers to visit their country's some 270 troops serving with the coalition against the Islamic State group at Incirlik air base.

Some 250 German troops are stationed at Incirlik, contributing to the USA -led mission targeting Islamist State militants in neighbouring Syria.

Germany and other Western allies have voiced concern about what they fear is a drift towards authoritarian rule in Turkey.

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