September 18, 2017 / 4:52 PM / 2 years ago

Turkish asylum applications in Germany jump 55 percent this year

FILE PHOTO: A Turkish Muslim boy leaves the Friday prayers at the Turkish Kuba Camii mosque located near a hotel housing refugees in Cologne's district of Kalk, Germany, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

BERLIN (Reuters) - The number of Turks seeking asylum in Germany is up sharply this year and has been rising steadily since last year’s failed military coup in Turkey, German government data showed on Monday.

Germany got 4,408 asylum applications from Turkish citizens between January and August, compared with 2,836 in the same period of 2016, an increase of 55.4 percent, according the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

“There is an increase in asylum applications by Turkish applicants. However, I can not give the reasons for that because we do not make statistical surveys of why people flee,” a spokeswoman of the German Interior Ministry said.

In April, the Interior Ministry said at least 262 Turkish diplomats and army personnel have applied for asylum in Germany since the failed coup on July 15 last year.

Following the coup attempt, Turkey has arrested more than 40,000 people and sacked or suspended more than 100,000 in the military, civil service and private sector. Germany’s mainstream parties have been outspoken critics of Turkey’s crackdown

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik urged Germany in January to reject asylum applications from 40 mostly high-ranking former soldiers suspected by Ankara of having links to the coup.

Less than a quarter of Turkish asylum seekers have been granted protection in Germany since the beginning of 2017, although that is almost triple last year’s 8.2 percent.

Reporting By Riham Alkousaa, editing by Larry King

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