Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos has said the eight Turkish soldiers wanted by Ankara in connection with a failed coup attempt in 2016 “will not be extradited regardless of the outcome of their asylum applications.”
In a message posted on social media late Sunday, Tzanakopoulos said the asylum claims submitted by the soldiers concerns their granting of refugee status. “This is a completely different from their non-extradition,” he said.
Turkey said on Saturday the decision by a Greek asylum board to grant asylum to one of the eight soldiers undermined relations between the two countries. It also accused Athens of harboring “coup plotters.”
On Sunday, Tzanakopoulos said it was up to the Greek justice system to decide if the suspect in question is entitled to refugee protection, “in light of the enormous political significance of the issue which directly impacts on relations with the neighboring country.”
“The political position of the Greek government is nevertheless clear,” Tzanakopoulos said. “Those suspected of being involved in Turkey’s coup are not welcome.”