President Erdoğan asks Greece to exradite Turkish coup soldiers
BEIJINGPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 13 held a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Beijing on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation organized by the Chinese government. The meeting held in the Four Seasons Hotel lasted for an hour.
Erdoğan voiced Turkey’s discontent with the Greek decision of not to extradite Turkish soldiers who requested asylum from Greece after they fled to the country following the July 2016 coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organiztion (FETÖ).
Hours after the attempted takeover on July 15, 2016, the eight soldiers, including three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors, fled to Greece’s Alexandroupoli in 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 ruled against the extradition request by Ankara, stating that the men would not get a fair trial in Turkey and that their lives would be at risk if they returned.
Ankara later issued a second extradition request for the soldiers the next day on two new accusations.
During the meeting, Erdoğan said that it wasn’t “appropriate for those involved in the coup to stay in Greece,” while asking the necessary steps to be taken on the issue.
Other topics discussed in the meeting between Erdoğan and Tsipras included lowering tensions in the Aegean and the importance of dialogue in the solution of possible problems.
Tsipras congratulated Erdoğan on the results of the April 16 constitutional referendum, in which “yes” votes emerged as the winner, and said that Greece supports Turkey’s European Union process.
The leaders also agreed to continue efforts on the Cyprus issue.