Government, opposition clash over bid to invalidate asylum decision

Government, opposition clash over bid to invalidate asylum decision

The Greek government has fired back at the opposition after conservative New Democracy criticized its decision to file a request for the cancellation of the asylum granted to one of eight Turkish soldiers accused of involvement in last year’s coup attempt.

In a statement on Saturday, New Democracy questioned the government’s move, adding that it contradicted past remarks by leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that Greece respected the separation of powers and guaranteed that the suspects would receive a fair trial.

By claiming that there has been an intervention by the government in the justice system, “ND is obviously ignoring the fact that second degree asylum committees are administrative bodies,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in a message posted on his Twitter account late Saturday.

Tzanakopoulos said the conservatives were making this claim although the cancellation request defers the ruling about the issue to the justice system.

“But how can could ND make a distinction between the branches of authority when Mitsotakis confuses Montesquieu with Rousseau,” he said.

Greece’s administrative court of appeal will now look into the case.

The eight Turkish soldiers fled to Greece following Turkey’s botched coup in July 2016. Seven of them applied for asylum and were rejected, but have been kept in preventive custody.

Angered by a decision to grant asylum to the eighth soldier by the Greek asylum service committee, a panel of judges and experts, Turkey warned Saturday that the move would have a negative impact on bilateral relations.

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