Greece hosts some 10,000 FETÖ members: Official

Greece hosts some 10,000 FETÖ members: Official

Greece hosts some 10,000 FETÖ members: Official

Around 10,000 FETÖ members are living in Greece, a senior Foreign Ministry official told the daily Milliyet, hinting that the relations reached a point where it would “explode with a little spark.”

Claiming the country accommodates terrorist organizations and that Athens is seen as a safe haven for many anti-terrorist organizations operating in Türkiye, such as DHKP-C, PKK and FETÖ, the official said, “They aim to use them to harm Türkiye one day by providing space for them just because they are enemies of the Turks.”

“The moves you will make to disturb Türkiye will hit Greece one day,” the official added.

The official also pointed out that they are not worried about Greece in matters such as the arms race or unauthorized flights as nearly 20,000 unauthorized crossings were reported by local media.

The official reminded that following an era when good relations were established between Atatürk, the founder of modern Türkiye, and the then Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Kyriakou Venizelos, an exceptional period was experienced with Athens, thanks to the former foreign ministers of the two countries, İsmail Cem and Yorgo Papandreou.

Evaluating the current situation as “restoring to factory settings,” the official said that Greece broke its promises to keep the agreed-upon dialogue alive after a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis in March.

Athens increased its anti-Türkiye lobbying activities and provocative flights in the Aegean after the meeting, the official said, adding, “We are in a position to explode at the slightest spark like a gas compression.”

The FETÖ members, then soldiers in the Turkish military, landed in Greece’s Alexandroupolis (Dedeağaç), near the common border, via a helicopter after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Greece rejected the extradition of FETÖ members to Türkiye and accepted their asylum applications.

For some five years, the fugitive ex-soldiers lived in the houses on the premises of the Athens Olympic Complex, then the facilities belonging to the Greek police force and military near Athens.

Greece deployed some 100 police officers to protect them, while they stayed in a house near the capital, before adding to the tensions between the two countries by sending them to Belgium, Germany and Canada on April 16.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously said that the then Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised that the eight FETÖ suspects would be handed over to Türkiye in a short period of time, but Athens did not deliver this promise.

Within the scope of relations with Greece, problems ranging from the length of territorial waters to the eastern Mediterranean, the influx of immigration from Cyprus, the armament of the Aegean islands and terrorist organizations are gradually increasing.