Turkey says Greek ruling on extradition of soldiers is "political"

Courts in Greece have now rejected the extradition of all eight Turkish soldiers sought by Ankara in connection with last year's coup attempt.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Four of the eight Turkish soldiers (C) who fled to Greece in a helicopter line up as they are escorted by police at the Supreme Court in Athens on January 13, 2017.

Turkey on Thursday slammed a Greek court's decision to block a second extradition request for two soldiers who fled to Greece after last year's failed coup.

The ruling means Greek courts have rejected the extradition of all eight soldiers, including three majors, three captains, and two sergeant-majors sought by Turkey in connection with the coup attempt.

"The Greek decision was obviously taken for political motives and will impact bilateral relations and regional cooperation," the Turkish foreign ministry said on Thursday.

"The Greek judiciary, which we hoped would be fair and impartial, has once again disappointed us," it said in a statement, adding it was not receiving the necessary support from an ally in the fight against terrorism and crime.

The second extradition request was issued in January after Greece's top court ruled against the first, covering all eight soldiers.

Ankara alleges the men were involved in the failed coup, which Turkey says was masterminded by the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) and the group’s leader, US-based Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey has continuously demanded that the men be sent back to the country to face justice and fair treatment. But after a series of trials and appeals, Greece has rejected the demands, citing concerns about the men’s safety.

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

The men are to be held in detention until their asylum applications are processed.

TRTWorld and agencies