Greece hears asylum claim of Turkish ‘coup’ officer

Greece hears asylum claim of Turkish ‘coup’ officer

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greece hears asylum claim of Turkish ‘coup’ officer

AFP photo

Greece began hearing the asylum claim on Aug. 19 of the first of eight Turkish military officers who fled their country after the failed July 15 coup attempt, the country’s asylum service has stated.

Captain Feridun Çoban was driven to the headquarters of the asylum service in Athens early on Aug. 19, according to the group’s lawyer Stavroula Tomara.

His fellow officers - three other captains, two commanders and two sergeants, who along with Çoban are accused by Turkey of involvement in the coup - will have their cases heard from Aug. 22.

No decision will be made in their cases for “two or three months,” according to the asylum service.

Greece said Aug. 18 that Turkey had formally requested the extradition of the men on suspicion of involvement in the failed coup. The men deny the accusations.

The asylum service said the cases will “follow a totally normal procedure” despite demands from Ankara to hand the men over, with the issue threatening to strain ties between the uneasy NATO allies.

The men requested asylum in Greece after landing a military helicopter in the northern city of Alexandroupoli, four days after the attempted government takeover on July 15.

In late July, the court of Alexandroupoli sentenced the eight to suspended two-month prison terms for illegal entry.

The eight claim they will not receive a fair trial in Turkey and one of their lawyers claimed that their lives could be “in danger” if sent home. 

Tomara said that if they were extradited there would be risks “for their security and their lives, as well as those of their families.”

Greece and Turkey’s prime ministers spoke by phone on Aug. 18 to discuss “matters of judicial cooperation,” Athens stated.