NEWS

Turkey's foreign ministry slams Greek court decision on Turkish pilot

TAGS: Turkey, Justice

Turkey's Foreign Ministry railed against Greece's supreme administrative court which granted asylum to one of the Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after the botched coup in the neighboring country in 2016.

According to the Council of State's ruling in May, published on Wednesday, Suleyman Ozkaynakci, the man who piloted the helicopter in which he and seven other Turkish officers arrived in Greece, could be eligible to receive travel documents.

“This decision not only breaches Greece’s international obligations to combat terrorism, but also constitutes a violation of the provisions of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees,” he Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a press release describing the ruling as “scandalous.”

“By rejecting the extradition of the putschist traitors, Greece has prepared the ground for such decisions, which offends the conscience of the Turkish nation,” it added.

According to the reasoning of the court's decision, Ozkaynakci could receive the travel documents on the condition that the Greek state agrees. However, he would first have to be accepted by another country.

In its ruling, the Council of State said that there was no evidence linking the serviceman to neither the botched coup in July 2016 nor the Islamic organization (FETO) run by the cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-exile in the US.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims Gulen was behind the coup.

The ruling also referred to Ozkaynakci’s claim that he has embraced Western values and that he is a secularist.

At the moment Ozakaykci, and his seven Turkish colleagues, are free in Greece but remain under tight security.

Three of them have already received refugee status.

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