Court releases Turkish officer under tight security

Court releases Turkish officer under tight security

The Council of State on Thursday ordered the release of one of the eight Turkish officers who have sought international protection in Greece since the foiled coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, but said he will remain under tight security at an undisclosed location.

He will not be able to leave the country and will have to appear at the local police station every day, according to the decision. 

The court did not rule on whether to grant asylum to the officer, reserving its decision for its new session in early May.

The serviceman, who piloted the military helicopter which brought the eight officers to Greece a day after the botched coup, had been granted protection by an asylum appeals committee in December 2017 but the government appealed against the decision.

The court said the state must take all necessary and appropriate measures for the effective supervision and protection of the Turkish officer who will reside at an undisclosed location. These measures, however, must not amount to a detention.

If the state fails to take those measures, the Council of State reserves the right to revise its decision.

Thursday’s decision concerns only one of the eight Turkish officers as the asylum procedure for the other men is at a very early stage, however it is likely to affect the court’s subsequent rulings.

The Turkish soldiers have been detained for months and they are expected to be released at the end of May, when the maximum detention period of 18 months expires.

Ankara has repeatedly requested their extradition, but the Supreme Court has ruled irrevocably against the motion, arguing they will not be given a fair trial in Turkey.

The decision drew an angry rebuke from Turkish authorities who accuse the eight of involvement in the plot against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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