Turkish coup suspects in Greece win asylum case delay
AA photoEight Turkish military officers who fled the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey by traveling to Greece have been given more time to press their asylum claim, their lawyer said on July 27.
Lawyer Vassilis Terzidis told Agence France-Presse that the men “fear for their lives” if they were to be returned to Turkey, where authorities have been waging a massive crackdown against suspects in the July 15 military coup bid.
“Given the very volatile situation in Turkey the eight soldiers wish to wait and better prepare [their case],” he said.
The eight men – two commanders, four captains and two sergeants – requested asylum in Greece after landing a military helicopter in the northern city of Alexandroupoli four days after the attempted government takeover.
A Greek court sentenced the eight – who face a military trial in their homeland if sent back – to suspended two-month 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 now they have been summoned to a hearing on Aug. 19, said Terzidis.
The eight claim they will not receive a fair trial in Turkey, where authorities have detained thousands of people over the coup, including top generals.
Rights group Amnesty International said it had “credible evidence” of the abuse and torture of people detained in sweeping post-coup arrests, something Ankara has denied.
Terzidis also referred to the possibility of Turkey restoring the death penalty in the wake of the attempted coup.
“That will be another argument in their favor for the international protection they are requesting,” he said.
The case threatens to strain ties between the uneasy NATO allies, with Ankara labelling the eight “terrorists.”
Meanwhile, a small group of anarchists threw paint on the walls of the Turkish Embassy in the Greek capital Athens on July 26.
Around 10 people from the self-proclaimed anarchist group Ruvikonas marched towards the embassy on July 26 morning, chanting and throwing leaflets in the air about strength and solidarity towards the fighting Turkish people.
They then threw balloons filled with red and black paint against the exterior walls of the embassy.
An online statement by the group said it stood in solidarity with the Turkish people and they were against the July 15 coup, but also against the Turkish government.
No injuries were reported, as Greek police made no detentions regarding the incident, since the group quickly fled towards the suburbs.