Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday accused Greece of sheltering terrorists, following the acquittal by a Greek court of nine Turkish nationals, all ethnic Kurds, who had been accused of being members of a terrorist organization.
“The acquittal reveals why these terrorist elements are nested in Greece,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy was quoted as saying in a written statement cited by Turkish news agency Anadolu.
This decision by the Greek court “is clearly interrupting” the efforts to combat terrorism in Europe, he said, adding that Turkey is concerned that Greece has become a safe haven for terrorist groups.
The suspects had been arrested and placed on pre-trial detention ahead of a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Greece in December 2017, on suspicion of having links to the leftist DHKP/C, a Turkish far-left group blamed for a string of attacks and suicide bombings in Turkey since 1990. On Wednesday, the court acquitted them on lack of evidence.
This is not the first time Turkey has made this accusation against Greece. In 2017, Greece's Supreme Court decided to grant asylum to eight Turkish soldiers who fled the July 2016 coup and reject Turkey's multiple extradition requests.
The courtt had ruled that, if returned, the soldiers would not have a fair trial and might be subjected to inhumane behavior.