Greek court blocks new extradition request for Turkish soldiers

The ruling applied to three of eight soldiers who fled. Extradition of three others was blocked last week. The case of the remaining two is pending.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

The eight Turkish soldiers, who fled to Greece in a helicopter and requested political asylum after a failed military coup against the government, are escorted by police officers as they arrive at the Supreme Court in Athens, Greece, January 26, 2017.

A Greek court on Wednesday blocked a second request by Turkey for the extradition of soldiers who fled to Greece after a failed coup attempt by a faction of the military on July 15 last year.

Turkey alleges the men were involved in an attempted putsch against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government. Ankara issued a second extradition request in January after Greece's top court ruled against the first, covering all eight.

Addressing the court on Wednesday, the prosecutor argued there was a possibility the men would not get a fair trial in Turkey.

The drawn-out case has highlighted often strained relations between the two NATO members.

Around 240 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured during the coup attempt, which Ankara says was orchestrated by US-based Fethullah Gulen.

The three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors landed a helicopter in Greece on July 16 and sought asylum.

They deny the charges of attempting to abrogate the constitution, attempting to dissolve parliament, violently seizing a helicopter and attempting to assassinate President Erdogan.