NEWS

Turkey sees red over serviceman’s asylum approval

TAGS: Turkey, Diplomacy, Politics

Greek-Turkish relations have, according to some analysts, entered uncharted territory after the decision on Wednesday by the Council of State to irrevocably grant asylum to one of the eight Turkish servicemen who Ankara wants extradited for their alleged role in a coup attempt there two years ago.

The decision is expected to serve as a precedent for the asylum requests of the remaining seven servicemen, which could further strain troubled relations between Greece and Turkey.

Analysts in Greece reckon that the ruling will be seen by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his associates as a further confirmation of his theory that Athens is part of a conspiracy hatched by the West to encircle Turkey with hostile forces.

Erdogan, analysts say, is also expected to use the issue to tap into nationalistic sentiment as Turkey heads to elections in June. It also serves to boost the “us against the world” narrative being peddled by Erdogan domestically.

Athens is concerned that Turkish angst in the midst of an election cycle could manifest itself in further tension in the Aegean, which could lead to an accidental clash between the two countries.

Seeking to avoid this eventuality, the top military chiefs of Greece and Turkey had successive meetings last week in a bid to keep channels of communications open between the two sides.

Given the current situation in relations between the countries it is considered highly unlikely that the two Greek soldiers held in the Turkish city of Edirne without charge since March will be released anytime soon.

Alternate Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Fotis Kouvelis said as much on Thursday, telling Parliament that they are being used by Erdogan for election purposes.

Online