Greece’s Supreme Court on Monday deferred to Thursday a final decision on the extradition of eight Turkish servicemen accused by the government in Ankara of taking part in a failed coup last summer.
The decision was initially expected on Monday, but the court said that judges said they will need more time to deliberate on an issue that has pitted concerns over human rights abuses in Turkey against the Greek government’s desire not to stoke tensions with Ankara.
Three separate panels of Greek judges have already ruled that the Turkish officers’ lives may be put at risk if they were to be returned to Turkey, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a tough crackdown on dissent since the summer’s coup attempt.
All eight servicemen have denied involvement in the coup attempt and say they fear for their lives if they are returned to Turkey.
If the Supreme Court rules against their extradition, the decision will be regarded as final and cannot be challenged. If, however, it upholds Turkey’s request, then the final decision will rest with the Greek justice minister.