Reports Tom Bowman for NPR:
A group of Turkish military officers deployed to the U.S. wants to stay in America much longer than a typical rotation for visiting foreign officers.
More than two dozen officers deployed to a NATO command in the Norfolk, Va., area, are seeking asylum in the U.S., fearing they will be wrongly imprisoned by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, NPR has learned.
The men, including Turkish navy, air force and army officers who rank from major to much more senior grades, have been accused of ties to this summer’s failed coup attempt against Erdogan. Some have been posted in the U.S. for as long as three years. The regime in Ankara is already putting pressure on their family members back home.
“I just got off the phone with my brother yesterday,” one officer told NPR. “He told me police officers arrived to arrest me — and if I were in Turkey right now, I [would be] arrested … I think they could arrest my family members.”
The men who spoke to NPR asked not to be identified, to protect friends and relatives in Turkey from potential reprisals for speaking out about their circumstances. They all received arrest warrants after the coup. Many of their names were on a long list of more than 1,000 Turkish officers.
Read the rest here.