The Council of State on Thursday ordered the release of one of the eight Turkish servicemen who have sought political asylum in Greece though it ordered that he remain under tight security at an undisclosed location amid fears for his safety.
The serviceman, who piloted the helicopter in which the eight fled to Greece following the thwarted Turkish coup in July 2016, was to be released from police custody. However, he will not be able to leave the country and must report daily to his local police station, the ruling stipulated.
Although the court’s decision related to only one of the eight Turkish servicemen, as the asylum process for the other seven is in the very early stages, it is expected to apply to the other seven.
The same court is expected to consider whether to grant the servicemen asylum on May 3.
Amid rising tensions between Greece and Turkey, Ankara has been insisting that Greek authorities return the eight Turks whom it describes as “coup plotters” and “traitors.”
Greece’s Supreme Court rejected Ankara’s extradition request in January 2017 but Turkish authorities have lodged additional requests.
Thursday’s ruling prompted an angry response in much of the Turkish media. Hurriyet described it as “scandalous” and Milliyet as “yet another provocative move by Greece.”
The Turkish media are also closely following the case of two Greek soldiers who have been in a prison in Edirne since they strayed over the land border in early March but have yet to be formally charged with anything.
On Thursday the European Parliament approved, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution calling on Turkey to swiftly conclude the judicial process and release the two Greek soldiers.
The motion passed with 607 votes in favor and seven against with 18 abstentions.