Greece blocks extradition of all eight Turkish coup soldiers for second time
REUTERS photoA Greek appeals court has blocked the extradition of the final two of eight soldiers who requested asylum after they fled to the country following the July 2016 coup attempt, in the second such refusal by Athens to extradite all the servicemen.
The two soldiers, Uğur Uçan and Mesut Fırat, appeared at the Athens Appeals Court on May 4, during which the court refused a request for their extradition to Turkey.
The decision comes one day after the appeals court rejected the extradition of three more soldiers, Ahmet Güzel, Gencay Böyük and Bilal Kurugül.
On April 25, it rejected the extradition of the other three servicemen, Süleyman Özkaynakçı, Feridun Çoban and Abdullah Yetik.
Prosecutors in the case claimed that the new accusations directed by Ankara against the soldiers were no different from the previous ones.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated on May 4 that the country was once again disappointed by a decision that it said was taken with “political motives.”
“We cannot see the support and cooperation we should be provided with by our allies in the anti-terror and anti-crime struggle,” the ministry said, adding that the ruling amounted to "protecting the coup soldiers."
It also noted that the ruling would "inevitably affect bilateral relations," as well as common work on regional issues.
Hours after the attempted takeover on July 15, 2016, blamed on the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), the eight soldiers, including three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors, fled to Greece’s Alexandroupoli in a Black Hawk army helicopter. The aircraft was returned the next day but the soldiers immediately requested asylum and stayed.
Greece’s Supreme Court on Jan. 26 ruled against the extradition request by Ankara, stating that the men would not get a fair trial in Turkey and that their lives would be at risk if they returned.
Ankara later issued a second extradition request for the soldiers the next day on two new accusations.
Meanwhile, The Greek Asylum Office is currently being reviewing the asylum application of the soldiers.
Greek authorities earlier decided to keep them under detention until their application is completed.
The soldiers are likely to stay under detention for another three months.