Nearly 40,000 people have applied for political asylum in West Germany in the first six months of 1988, and the number could top 100,000 by the end of the year, Interior Minister Friedrich Zimmermann said Saturday.

He said if the number of asylum seekers continued to grow at the pres-ent rate, the annual total could equal the record years of 1980 and 1987, when more than 100,000 people requested asylum.By the end of June, 39,885 people had applied for asylum, about 36 percent of them from Soviet bloc countries, Zimmermann said.

The largest number of asylum seekers so far this year came from Poland, with 12,136, followed by 7,543 Turks, 5,251 Yugoslavs, 3,784 Iranians, 1,308 Lebanese and 1,139 Pakistanis, Zimmermann said.