The Turkish Rear Admiral Seeking Asylum in the U.S.

Turkish officials connected him to the failed July 15 coup attempt.

A Turkish ship in a NATO operation (John MacDougall / Reuters)

NEWS BRIEF The relationship between the United States and Turkey, two NATO allies, grows more strained by the day. As Turkey pressures the U.S. to extradite the alleged mastermind of the failed July coup who lives in Pennsylvania, it has also moved toward closer ties with Russia. Now, the country has learned that yet another alleged coup participant is in the U.S.

A Turkish military officer has reportedly claimed asylum in the U.S., the first to do so after the July 15 putsch. Authorities in Turkey say the man, Mustafa Ugurlu, is linked to the coup. Ugurlu, a rear admiral, was stationed at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation headquarters in Virginia. He was one of 26 Turkish military personnel working there.

An official in the Turkish embassy in Washington told Reuters:

On July 22, on that day he left his badges and his ID at the base and after that no one has heard anything from him.

Turkey has purged some 100 generals from top military ranks for their alleged connection to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, along with 70,000 other civil servants, academics, and military officers. Turkey has detained another 26,000 people for allegedly assisting in the coup attempt.