Germany is the preferred destination of migrants fleeing Turkey according to recent statistics. About 50 percent of all people leaving Turkey, because they feel politically persecuted from Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime, seek shelter in Germany.
More than 2212 Turks applied for asylum in Germany during the first quarter of this year, according to official data, compared to 10,500 during the past year, German news agency quoted data from the Federal Authority for Migration and Refugee Affairs.
According to INFO MIGRANTS, Germany has become the main destination for Turkey since the so-called coup of 2016. The regime in Ankara has used the uprising as a pretext for a campaign of mass arrests.
The German Interior Ministry announced a slight decline in the number of asylum seekers during the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period of 2018. Nevertheless, requests remain far higher than in 2017 and 2016, and earlier.
The deputy representative of the German Left Party, Sfeim Dagdalen, received data from the Ministry stating that 2,122 people applied for asylum during the months of January, February and March, with an average of 737 requests per month, compared with 10,655 applications in 2018, an average of 888 requests per month.
The massive purge campaign led by the Turkish authorities against the backdrop of the alleged coup in 2016 has doubled the number of asylum seekers from Turkey.
Between 2013 and 2015, some 1,800 people from Turkey applied each year for asylum in Germany, with 5742 applications in 2016, rising to 8,843 in 2017 and reaching 1,0655 in 2018, according to the data.
Berlin has granted a protection guarantee to more than half of the asylum seekers from Turkey, in the first quarter of this year, stating that their reasons for leaving Turkey concern their personal security.
Dagdalen described these numbers as ringing "alarm bells". "When more than half of the people fleeing from Erdogan’s Turkey are now protected from persecution, then there can be no talk of democracy and rule of law on the Bosporus," he said.
"It is shocking that the federal government sees no need to take action against this background, which is also supported by the current accusations of torture by the journalist Denis Yogel," according to the German agency.
There are more than 55,000 detainees in Turkey's prisons on political charges, and 130,000 unemployed from mid-2016.
Economic crises resulting from political tensions are among the reasons for the migration of many entrepreneurs and wealthy people in Turkey. The Turkish Statistical Institute (TIS) revealed that the number of immigrants from Turkey in 2017 increased by 42% from 2016 to 250,640, while the highest age group was between 25 and 29 years.
With Germany as the destination of choice for those who flee from Erdogan's oppression, the Turkish president has allegedly recruited imams in Germany to spy on the Turkish migrants, according to WSJ.
Since 2017, there have been increasing allegations about the role of Turkish imams, of the Turkish Islamic Union known as Ditib. Commissioned by Turkish intelligence, they are said to be involved in espionage and gathering information about opponents of the Erdogan regime.
The office of the Constitutional Protection Commission in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia opened an investigation that resulted in the deportation of at least 13 imams.
Turkey controls, through its own union, about 900 mosques in Germany, but “eyes” are giving much more scrutiny to these mosques and imams than in the past.
The German magazine Der Spiegel said in an editorial this week, "For years, the German government has faced Erdogan's policies," stressing the importance of keeping channels of dialogue open between the two countries. However, it opined, "But the current situation clearly shows that dialogue is not a good strategy."
The magazine added, "Erdogan's undermining of democracy has not only begun with the decision of the Elections Body to re-run the vote in Istanbul; for years, it has been violating the principles of the state of law and nationalising the media."
"Over the past few days, we have not heard a strong response from European politicians about what is happening in Turkey. Europe is required to take a strong stand towards Erdogan, and firmness must be shown by imposing European sanctions on Ankara," the magazine said.
"You must know very well that imposing sanctions on Turkey will be a good step that can force Erdogan's regime to commit itself to democracy," the magazine wrote to the EU.
The publication came after German journalist Yogel's announcement that he had been tortured during his arrest in Turkey. The journalist, of Turkish origin, was held on charges of promoting terrorism in 2017 before German pressures to return him to Berlin succeeded.