Erdogan tells Greek PM non-extradition of putschist soldiers 'problem'

Eight former soldiers are accused of being involved in last July's foiled coup attempt, which left hundreds dead and thousands injured in Turkey.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkish President Erdogan meets Greek PM Tsipras on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in this photo.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that the non-extradition of former Turkish soldiers involved in the July 15 coup is wrong, a Turkish presidential source was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

During the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, the Turkish president told the Greek premier that the non-extradition was “a problem” between the two countries and termed the ongoing stay of the ex-soldiers in Greece as “wrong."

He also asked the prime minister to take necessary steps to resolve the issue, the source said.

The three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors landed a Turkish military helicopter in Greece on July 16, 2016, and sought asylum, hours after the collapse of the coup attempt, which left 249 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

The ex-soldiers are accused of being involved in the coup, which Ankara says was masterminded by the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and the group’s leader, US-based preacher Fetullah Gulen.

The former Turkish soldiers deny all charges against them, including attempting to abrogate the constitution, attempting to dissolve parliament, violently seizing a helicopter and attempting to assassinate President Erdogan. 

On May 4, a Greek appeals court rejected the extradition of the two ex-soldiers. The verdict ensured that Greek courts had denied the extradition of all eight ex-soldiers.

The Turkish government has repeatedly requested the extradition of the eight alleged coup plotters, promising they would get fair trials in Turkey.