Greece denies asylum to three pro-coup Turkish soldiers
Greek police vehicles next to a Turkish military helicopter at Alexandroupolis airport, after it landed there carrying eight officers seeking asylum after a coup bid in Turkey, on July 16, 2016 (AFP/File)
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Three out of the eight Turkish alleged coup plotters, who fled to Greece following their defeated July 15 bid, have been denied asylum, a Greek government official told Anadolu Agency.
According to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, two of the soldiers have declined to cooperate with Greek authorities. Evidence against one of the soldier’s involvement in coup attempt is strong, the official said.
A decision on the fate of five other soldiers was expected soon. All eight soldiers have the right to appeal their decisions in secondary committees and European courts, the Greek official added.
The asylum seekers’ case was extended on July 27 for almost a month to allow the defense more time to work on their cases. On Aug. 19, the case was reopened with depositions from the soldiers.
The Turkish soldiers had fled to Greece a few hours after the failed coup attempt in Turkey that martyred 242 people and left more than 2,000 injured. They had arrived in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, aboard a hijacked Black Hawk helicopter and immediately requested for asylum, claiming that their lives would be endanger in their home country.
The Turkish government has officially requested the extradition of the eight soldiers, giving assurances that the suspects would be provided with a fair trial.
The soldiers’ defense lawyer, Stavroula Tomara, has repeatedly told Greek media the alleged coup plotters fear they will be tortured and their families will be profiled and punished if they return to Turkey.
By Idyli Tsakari