Greek appeals court rules against extradition of three Turkish coup soldiers
ATHENSA Greek appeals court on April 25 rejected the extradition of three Turkish soldiers out of eight who requested asylum in the country after fleeing following Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup attempt, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Three of the servicemen - identified as Süleyman Özkaynakçı, Feridun Çoban, and Abdullah Yetik - appeared at the Athens’ Appeals Council on April 25 upon the latest extradition demand from Turkey.
Prosecutor Ourania Stathea said the new evidence presented by Ankara was not conclusive and demanded the refusal of their extradition.
The court board subsequently rejected the extradition of the soldiers. The other five have not yet received a trial date.
The decision on April 25 marked the second such refusal from Athens to extradite the coup soldiers.
Hours after the attempted takeover that resulted in 249 deaths last year, for which Ankara blames what it calls the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) under U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, Turkish military officials, including two majors, fled to Greece’s Alexandroupoli on a Black Hawk army helicopter. The aircraft was returned the next day but the soldiers immediately requested asylum and stayed.
Greece’s Supreme Court on Jan. 26 rejected Ankara’s extradition request, stating that the eight men would not get a fair trial in Turkey and that their lives would be at risk if they returned. The decision triggered immediate anger from Ankara, which issued a second request the next day.
The servicemen’s asylum requests had been pending at the time of the refusal.
According to official data from the Greek Asylum Services seen Greek daily Kathimerini, 236 Turkish citizens requested political asylum in the country between July 2016 and February 2017, with most of them are believed to be the members of the Gülen movement.
Some 98 of the asylum requests were made this year, Kathimerini reported.