Turkey’s ambassador to Athens said that by granting asylum to eight Turkish officers Ankara accuses of participating in the botched coup of 2016, Greece is granting them impunity.
“Their non-extradition to Turkey and even more so their being granted asylum gives impunity to the coup plotters and prevents them from being remanded to Turkish justice,” Ambassador Yasar Halit Cevik said at an event at the Turkish Embassy in central Athens marking the second anniversary of the July 15, 2016 attempt by a section of the Turkish armed forces to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Greece has also suffered from coups in the past and we would therefore expect its solidarity and cooperation,” he said.
Asked by Kathimerini whether the issue of the eight Turkish officers is being associated with the fate of two Greek soldiers who have been held in Turkey without charge since early March, Cevic said the two issues are “not directly” linked.
“We respect the independence of the Greek justice system in the case of the eight coup plotters and expect Greece to respect the independence of the Turkish justice system in turn on the case of the two soldiers,” he said.
However, he added, “whether intentionally or not, one issue affects the other.”
Cevic did not provide any details concerning a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels last week, but said that a meeting is being planned soon between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
On Cyprus, the Turkish envoy said that he considers the issue “solvable” as long as there is “political equality” between the two sides.
Cevic also said that the state of emergency declared after the coup attempt in Turkey will be lifted on Thursday, describing the move as important step in healing the “wound” of the deadly uprising.