Release of coup soldiers in Greece 'source of concern' for Turkey despite 'well-intentioned' Tsipras
In this file photo, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan listens to his spokesperson İbrahim Kalın prior to a working session of a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday, July 12, 2018. AP Photo/Francois Mori
Greek judiciary's decision to release eight former Turkish soldiers who fled the country a day after the 2016 coup attempt is a "source of concern for Turkey," although Ankara appreciates "well-intentioned' Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on July 13.
"Tsipras is well-intentioned. We conducted long and extensive meetings on the extradition issue. These were constructive meetings but when we look into the case, unfortunately we see that the Greek judicial system has been moving in the past two years toward the direction of releasing the eight soldiers," Kalın stated in a press conference after the first meeting of the presidential cabinet under Turkey's new government system.
"This is a source of concern for us. We are expecting [Greece] to take steps that will not make coup plotters happy," Kalın added.
The soldiers had arrived in Greece’s Thrace region aboard a military helicopter hours after the botched putsch on July 15, 2016.
In January this year, the Greek Supreme Court ruled against extraditing the former soldiers, who were released in another ruling last month.
Turkey suspended its bilateral migrant readmission deal with Greece on June 7 in response to the court’s decision.
Tsipras said on June 13 that he did not promise to send the Turkish soldiers back in his meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and there could be a “misunderstanding.”
Turkey’s cabinet of the new presidential executive system convened July 13 for the first time at the helm of Erdoğan after a symbolic ceremony held at Turkey’s second parliamentary building.
The 16-seat cabinet held its first meeting under the executive presidency of Erdoğan at the presidential complex in Ankara.