The General Council of State made its decision on Suleyman Ozkaynakci's case, setting a precedent for other cases involving seven other former Turkish soldiers, who fled to Greece after the July 2016 defeated coup.
Greece’s General Council of State has rejected the Greek government's appeal against the asylum of one of the eight ex-Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after the July 2016 defeated coup.
The council, supreme administrative court of Greece, made its decision on Suleyman Ozkaynakci's case Tuesday, setting a precedent for the cases of seven other ex-Turkish soldiers.
A Greek asylum committee had decided to grant asylum to Ugur Ucan in June after the Council of State also granted former soldiers Ozkaynakci and Ahmet Guzel asylum in May this year.
A few hours after the July 2016 defeated coup to overthrow the Turkish government, eight ex-military personnel had arrived in Greece on a hijacked Black Hawk helicopter and requested asylum.
Turkey immediately issued an extradition request, which was eventually declined by the Greek Supreme Court in January 2017, after a series of trials and appeals.
Press Release Regarding the Greek Council of State’s approval of the decision to grant asylum to putschist Süleyman Özkaynakçı https://t.co/4b8wfLP96Z— Turkish MFA (@MFATurkey) August 22, 2018
Reactions to court decision
"This decision not only breaches Greece’s international obligations to combat terrorism, but also constitutes a violation of the provisions of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees," said Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its press release.
Presidency Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a tweet that this scandalous decision should be condemned and rejected by all parties including the European Union.
The Greek judiciary has supported "enemies of Turkey" by granting asylum to coup plotters, the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party said on Wednesday.
In a Twitter post, AK Party spokesman Omer Celik said: "The Greek judiciary stands by the enemies of Turkey and coup plotters. This is a more severe and embarrassing stance than supporting terrorism."
We will resolutely continue our fight against coup plotters as we do against terrorism. In this fight, we will never forget who support terrorists by providing arms and who protect coup plotters by judicial decrees.— Ömer Çelik (@omerrcelik) August 22, 2018
"We will never forget those who support terrorists with weapons and those who support them by judicial decisions," Celik said.
"The judiciary's decision to protect coup plotters in Greece, which itself suffered from coups in the past, shows that the law has been set aside," he said, adding that the Greek judiciary had taken its decision for "other purposes".
The soldiers are accused by Turkish authorities of involvement in the defeated coup and being members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO).
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which killed 251 people and injured more than 2,600.