Kontonis: Gov’t will not violate Constitution, laws for Turkish soldiers


A bill drafted by the Justice Ministry that would allow Greek authorities to extend the legal detention period for foreign nationals whose extradition is being sought by their homelands has come under fire by opposition politicians.

The new rules would only apply to the eight Turkish soldiers who fled a thwarted coup in Turkey in 2016 and have sought asylum in Greece in the event that Ankara lodges a new appeal for their extradition. Turkish authorities have already had three extradition appeals rejected.

Greek Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis rejected claims by the head of Democratic Left, Thanasis Theoharopoulos, that the new rules would restrict the rights of the eight Turkish soldiers. 

Accusing the opposition politician of "extreme irresponsibility," Kontonis noted that the draft regulations would only relate to those convicted by criminal courts whereas the Turkish soldiers are being detained as their asylum applications are being processed.

Kontonis also condemned as "extremely irresponsible" the suggestion by Independent Greeks MP Costas Katsikis, that two Greek soldiers being detained in Turkey could be "exchanged" for the eight Turkish servicemen.

"The Greek government will violate neither the constitution nor the law," he said.