Turkish soldiers to be released in May, says justice minister

Turkish soldiers to be released in May, says justice minister

The eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey will be released in May, as by then they will have completed the maximum detention period of 18 months, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis said Monday.

“After the end of the 18-month period, which will be completed in May, there is no reason to extend their detention,” Kontonis told radio station 24/7, adding that Turkey has so far not requested that they be tried in Greece.

Greek courts have rejected three extradition requests by Turkish authorities – which are accusing the eight soldiers of having played a direct role in the coup – saying they wouldn’t face a fair trial.

The court ruling has drawn sharp criticism from Ankara, which accused Greece of harboring terrorists, and soured relations between the two countries.

Kontonis also rejected concerns the servicemen might be abducted by Turkish intelligence services – following reports in foreign media about abductions of suspected Gulenists in third countries – saying “all those who are legally in Greece are in no danger.”

“Attempted abduction is a serious crime. The rights of all the citizens who are on Greek soil will be guaranteed,” he added.

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