Turkey demands extradition of coup plotters from Greece

Greek police arrest eight army officers who fled to Greece after a failed coup bid in Turkey.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A Turkish military helicopter lands in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis with eight soldiers on board who have requested political asylum after the attempted coup in Turkey on July 16, 2016.

Updated Jul 17, 2016

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that Ankara has demanded of Athens the return eight soldiers who fled to Greece after a coup bid in Turkey.

"We demanded the urgent return of eight traitor soldiers who escaped to Greece on a helicopter,” Cavusoglu was quoted as telling HaberTurk television. The minister said that Greek authorities were ready to cooperate.

Greece arrested eight soldiers who landed by helicopter after sending a distress signal to authorities at the airport in Alexandroupolis in the country's north. They are due to appear before a Greek prosecutor on Sunday, one official said.

Greece said it will examine the request for political asylum made by the eight Turkish soldiers.

Seven of those on board were in military uniform and all are believed to have been involved in the attempted putsch, ERT TV said.

Athens News Agency said the asylum seekers comprised of three majors, three captains and two sergeant majors.

According to an official in the Greek National Defence General Staff, "the helicopter is scheduled to be sent back immediately to Turkey".

"As far as the asylum seekers are concerned, we are going to proceed according to the international law," Olga Gerovassili, the Greek government spokeswoman, said.

People gather outside parliament building in Ankara on July 16, 2016.

She said Athens was "in constant contact with the Turkish authorities" and would take into account the fact that "the asylum seekers took part in a coup against the Turkish constitution".

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras early on Saturday expressed his "support for the democratically elected" Turkish government.

TRTWorld and agencies