Ankara raises issue of eight officers again
A few days before Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visits Turkey, the country’s National Security Council said in a statement on Thursday that Ankara will continue to pursue people it accuses of taking part in the failed coup attempt in 2016 – including the eight servicemen Greece has refused to extradite.
Greek courts have rejected several requests from Ankara to hand over eight Turkish officers who fled to Greece in July 2016, arguing they will not have a fair trial and may be subjected to torture and inhumane treatment.
The judicial rulings have irked Turkey, which has accused Athens of harboring terrorists.
The statement also said that Turkey will monitor closely developments in Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea, and “take action to protect its rights.”
The council said it is “unacceptable” that some countries are refraining from extraditing terror group members.
The statement came at a time when Greece is seeking to reduce tensions in the Aegean and in the Eastern Mediterranean and to pave the way for a new United Nations-backed initiative to resume talks to reunite war-divided Cyprus.
During his visit to Ankara and Istanbul on February 5 to 6, at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Tsipras will be accompanied by Alternate Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas and Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos. Erdogan and Tsipras will hold a joint press conference, which will be followed by a dinner.
Tsipras is also scheduled to visit Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios on February 6 in Istanbul.