Turkey insisting on servicemen’s extradition


Ankara on Monday repeated its call for the extradition of eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after the failed coup in 2016, despite Athens’s efforts not to include the issue in the list of bilateral differences dividing the two countries.

Upping the ante with Athens, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday that he expects the extradition of all eight “as soon as possible.”

Greece’s Supreme Court ruled last January against returning them to Turkey as it said they would not receive a fair trial.

But seemingly obliviously to the decision by Greece’s highest court of legal arbitration, Bozdag said that Greece was offering “support to coup plotters.”

“Those that participate in coups and escape to other countries must be returned,” he said,adding that Greece and Turkey have serious problems “like the ones in Aegean” and that they must be resolved through dialogue.

His remarks followed a decision earlier on Monday by a Greek administrative court to temporarily suspend a decision issued last month by a tribunal to grant asylum to one of the eight Turkish servicemen. Monday’s ruling came after a request submitted by the Migration Policy Ministry on behalf of the Greek state.

Lawyers representing the Greek state argued that granting asylum to a serviceman accused of involvement in an attempted coup in Turkey could hurt bilateral relations.

On the other hand, the legal team representing the Turkish serviceman said that the decision to grant him asylum was fully justified and substantiated and cannot be overturned by any court.

The serviceman is to remain in custody until a final decision is issued on his asylum on February 15, according to the Greek Police’s immigration unit.

Meanwhile, two Turkish F-16 jets violated Greek air space on Monday and engaged in a mock dogfight with two Greek F-16s southeast of Rhodes in the southeastern Aegean.