BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has granted asylum to four Turkish soldiers, including one Ankara accuses of playing a leading role in the attempted military coup of July 2016, in a new setback for relations between the two countries, weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported.

By granting them asylum, German authorities make it impossible for them to be extradited to face charges, a refusal likely to dismay Turkish authorities, who accuse them of treachery and membership in a terrorist organisation.

Turkey accuses Ilham P., a former Turkish colonel whose surname cannot be published in full because of German privacy practices, then head of the Ankara military academy, of being ring-leader of the group.

The Foreign Ministry could not immediately comment on the report.

Relations between European countries and Turkey have been strained ever since the coup attempt and the crackdown that followed it, with many bemoaning Turkey's authoritarian turn under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Large numbers of German citizens have been detained in Turkey for what Berlin regards as political reasons, most of them over alleged links to coup plotters.

Also on Friday, a Greek court ruled that a man accused of being behind a series of suicide bombings in Turkey could not be extradited because his life would be in danger at home.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Editing by William Maclean)

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