NEWS

Turk wanted by Ankara over links to bombings returns to Greek prison

TAGS: Turkey, Justice, Diplomacy

A Greek court on Tuesday rejected a request by Ankara for the extradition of a man wanted over links to a banned militant group blamed for suicide bombings in Turkey, court officials said.

Naci Ozpolat, 48, a Turkish national of Kurdish origin, is one of nine people detained by Greece’s anti-terrorism service in November, weeks before Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Greece in December. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Turkey wants three of them extradited over alleged links to a far-left group blamed for attacks and suicide bombings there since 1990.

Ozpolat told the court on Tuesday that Ankara accuses him of involvement in acts that occurred in Turkey while he was in custody in Germany and that it wants him back because he is “a revolutionary”, a court official said.

Following the ruling, he was transferred back to a Greek prison where he is being held pending trial on domestic charges including possession of firearms.

Greece has charged the nine detainees with setting up and belonging to a criminal organization, terrorist-related acts of supplying explosive materials, and with illegal possession of firearms, smoke bombs and firecrackers.

Last month, a Greek court ruled against the extradition of 60-year old Mehmet Dogan, saying he had been granted political asylum in France in 2011. That decision angered Turkey, which accused Greek courts of protecting terrorists and acting in a way that “does not befit neighborly behavior.” [Reuters]

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