Turkey slams Greece over transfer of murderer of Turkish diplomats to open prison

Turkey slams Greece over transfer of murderer of Turkish diplomats to open prison


Turkey has slammed Greece after it transferred a convicted murderer of Turkish diplomats to an open prison.

Dimitris Koufodinas, a member of the far-left group November 17 who was serving multiple life terms for a string of murders, was recently transferred from high security prison to an open agricultural prison in Volos, Greece.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for being the perpetrator of the 1991 murder of the Turkish Press Attaché  in Athens, Çetin Görgü and assassination attempt to Turkey's Counsellor in Athens, Deniz Bölükbaşı, as well as being among the perpetrators of the 1994 murder of Turkey's Counsellor in Athens, Haluk Sipahioğlu.

"We strongly condemn the fact that Kufodinas, who had been given the right to furlough three times before, will enjoy this transfer to the open agricultural prison. This has once again strengthened our doubts about the functioning of the judicial system in Greece," Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Aug. 3.

"Granting tolerance to a terrorist disrespects the memory of our diplomats who were martyred and their families. It is unacceptable that a terrorist attempting lives of our diplomats can take advantage of such regulations," it added.

The statement also urged Greek authorities to "to avoid taking steps that would create further deficiency in the fight against terrorism and invite them to fulfill their obligations in line with international cooperation in countering terrorism."

Greek officials had agreed late June 14 to grant a third furlough in eight months Koufodinas, and who was on a hunger strike pressing for his demand.

The decision followed a series of protests and vandal attacks by anarchist sympathizers of Koufodinas, including a peaceful protest on the ancient Acropolis in Athens.

The now-disbanded November 17 group’s former main hitman, Koufodinas, 61, has acknowledged his crimes but has never repented.

Koufodinas was convicted in 2003 of belonging to November 17, which assassinated 23 people between 1975 and 2000, including U.S., British and Turkish diplomats and military personnel. He is serving 11 life terms.