Two Turkish attaches in Athens ‘go missing’
REUTERS photoTurkey’s military attache in Athens, Staff Col. İlhan Yaşıtlı and naval attache Col. Halis Tunç, had disappeared along with their families, according to several media reports on Aug. 10.
The Greek Foreign Ministry canceled the two soldiers’ accreditations on Aug. 7 upon the request of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Their whereabouts were unknown, as the two attaches did not attend a NATO handover ceremony on July 29 at the Salamina Naval Base near the Greek capital, the agency confirmed.
Greek media reported that the soldiers might have fled to Italy.
Meanwhile, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office sent an extradition requisition to the Justice Ministry on Aug. 10 to be sent to Greek authorities over the extradition of eight suspected coup plotting soldiers who sought asylum in the country after the failed coup attempt of July 15, as two military attaches in Athens were also reported to be missing.
According to the eight-page requisition, staff pilot majors Gençay Böyük and Ahmet Güzel, staff pilot captains Süleyman Özkaynakçı, Ferudun Çoban, Abdullah Yetik and Uğur Uçan and non-commissioned officers Mesut Fırat and Bilal Kurugül were accused of violating the constitution with force and violence, attempted assassination of the president, crimes against the legislative body and the government and robbery.
“Eight suspects boarded a Skorsky S 70 Black Hawk model helicopter belonging to the Samandıra Air Base and landed in a region near Riva of [Istanbul’s] Beykoz district. The suspects, who made phone calls for a while there, took off again on July 16 at 10:40 a.m. and landed in Greece, passing over [Istanbul’s] Sarıyer district and Çatalca district and Tekirdağ province,” the requisition read, noting that the armed soldiers had stolen the helicopter at night.
“It was determined that the device which is a part of a transponder and also publishes MOD C altitude information had been removed and all military codes and flight information records of the helicopter had been deleted after landing at the Dedeağaç [Alexandroupoli] region [in Greece], according to information obtained from command personnel as a result of examinations,” it added.
The requisition also noted the suspects faced jail terms ranging from five years to aggravated life sentences for their crimes.
A Greek court had earlier sentenced the soldiers to two-month suspended prison terms for illegal entry.
They will remain in police custody in Greece until their asylum applications are heard.
A first ruling had been expected in early August but the soldiers were now expected to be summoned to a hearing on Aug. 19.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Turkey’s military attache in Athens, Staff Col. İlhan Yaşıtlı and naval attache Col. Halis Tunç, had disappeared along with their families.
According to the information, the Greek Foreign Ministry canceled the two soldiers’ accreditations on Aug. 7 upon the request of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Their whereabouts were unknown, as the two attaches did not attend a NATO handover ceremony on July 29 at the Salamina Naval Base near the Greek capital.
Greek media meanwhile reported that the soldiers might have fled to Italy.