Athens to not extradite Turkish soldiers, possible trial floats in Greece: Greek minister
Greece will not extradite eight Turkish soldiers who fled there after the failed 2016 coup but an offer to try them in Athens is still open, the justice minister said on Jan. 23.
Turkish Deputy Justice Minister Bilal Uçar met Greek Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis in Athens on Jan. 23 and raised a new extradition request with Greek authorities, underscoring the importance Ankara attaches to the issue.
Greece’s supreme court had previously ruled out extradition.
Kontonis told reporters he had discussed the case of the eight soldiers with Uçar in Athens.
“Naturally, the case of the eight soldiers was discussed. Greece’s top court had rejected Turkey’s request for the soldiers’ extradition and, therefore, they will not be sent back,” he said.
“The legal framework was presented from our side and it was hopefully fully understood by the Turkish side,” Kontonis said.
“The options are clearly stated in the Greek penal code, so therefore, it is at Turkey’s discretion to take the appropriate legal steps,” he added, referring to the possibility of a trial taking place in Athens.
Later that day, Uçar said Turkey extended a third extradition request to Greece for the ex-soldiers. “We want the extradition of the eight soldiers,” Uçar told reporters at the Turkish embassy in Athens. He added that a new file along with new evidence was given to Greek officials in connection with the latest extradition request.
The eight former Turkish officers are currently amid a legal trial concerning their status in Greece. Although they have all applied for asylum, only one of them has been granted this status. However, this status has temporarily been revoked by Greek authorities since then.
The eight men—three majors, three captains and two sergeant majors—flew to Greece by helicopter on July 16 in 2016.