Turkish PM visits Athens with coup suspects on agenda
Rıza ÖZEL / ANKARA
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım is scheduled to hold a meeting with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in Athens late on June 18, with the main agenda being the extradition of Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Yıldırım is expected to convey a file to Tsipras including new evidence about the eight soldiers who fled to Greece after the coup attempt, in a bid to encourage the extradition of the soldiers.
Relations between Ankara and Athens became strained after Greece’s Supreme Court ruled not to extradite any of the eight servicemen to Turkey, citing the local court’s initial worries about a fair trial in Turkey, the soldiers’ security, and lack of evidence, in three different rulings in January, April and May 2017.
The rulings prompted anger from the Turkish government, which has since filed another request.
Yıldırım is also expected to discuss Turkey–EU relations and the refugee issue with Tsipras.
Turkey and Greece are struggling with common problems as the two neighbors host significant numbers of refugees and staunch the flow of migrants to European countries. Hosting more than 3 million refugees Ankara has frequently expressed discontent over the EU’s approach to the readmission and visa liberalization agreement.
One of the other topics of Yıldırım’s visit to Greece will be ongoing resolution talks in Cyprus. Ahead of the Geneva meeting between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Yıldırım is expected to discuss recent developments and natural gas reserves on the island with his Greek counterpart.
Following the meeting, Yıldırım is set to meet with Turkish residents in Greece in Komotini.