Ruling next week on gov’t bid to halt asylum for Turkish soldier


A ruling by the Athens administrative appeals court on whether the approve a request by the government to block a tribunal's decision to grant asylum to one of eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after the failed Turkish coup in 2016 is expected next week, probably on Monday.

According to sources, during a 40-minute hearing on Monday, the lawyers representing the Greek state in the case maintained that the decision to grant asylum to the Turkish soldier should be halted for reasons of national interest as, they claimed, such a move could shake bilateral relations.

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis noted that the Migration Policy Minister had "certain objections" and had therefore called for the tribunal's decision to be "frozen" until a court ruling resolves the issue.

He noted that a similar delay would likely have occurred had the decision by the tribunal been negative and had prompted an appeal by the Turkish serviceman.

The lawyers representing the Turkish soldier reiterated their claim that there is no evidence implicating him in the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016.

They added that the eight servicemen face the risk of torture if they return to their country, as noted last January the reasoning of Greece's Supreme Court which ruled against the men's extradition to Turkey.

The decision expected next week will be a temporary one with the case to be examined comprehensively in February.

In a related development, Greek authorities have said they will explore the possibility of the eight Turkish servicemen being tried in Greece for their alleged involvement in the failed coup.

Sources indicated that officials Ankara have not rejected the idea. 

However criminologists say that practically applying Kontonis's proposal for trying the Turks in Greece is difficult if not impossible legally speaking.

In a joint statement, 66 Greek academics, writers and scientists have called for all eight Turkish servicemen to be granted asylum in Greece.