Turkey, europe

Greece: Hearing begins for Turkish pro-coup soldiers

Case concerns eight Turkish soldiers who fled the country after last month's coup attempt, and sought asylum in Greece

Ekip  | 19.08.2016
Greece: Hearing begins for Turkish pro-coup soldiers

Atina

By Furkan Naci Top

ATHENS

The asylum hearing for eight Turkish pro-coup soldiers, who fled the country following last month's coup bid, and sought asylum in Greece, began Friday in Athens.

Only one of the soldiers attended the hearing at the Greek Asylum Service as opposed to the original plan, which was for the soldiers to be interviewed in pairs.

They are instead going to be heard one by one, so they can take advantage of the full attention of their defense lawyers. 

After the hearing, which lasted for over five hours, Cpt. Feridun Coban was smuggled out of the building through the back door, his head covered with a white scarf.

He was then driven away in a car along with undercover police officers.

Coban's lawyer Stavroula Tomara declined to comment on the process when approached by Anadolu Agency.

"I will not talk to Turkish media until there is total freedom of the press in Turkey," she said.

The whole procedure will be completed on August 30 instead of August 25 as it was scheduled a month ago, when the case was postponed in order to buy some time for the asylum seekers to prepare their defense case.

The eight Turkish soldiers fled their country July 16, the morning after the failed coup attempt, and arrived in Greece aboard a hijacked military helicopter.

They are seeking asylum on the grounds that "their safety will be in jeopardy" if they return to Turkey.

Turkey demands that Greece extradites them and promises to give them a fair trial.

Greece received Turkey’s official extradition request Thursday, which states that the eight soldiers are charged with violating the Turkish Constitution using force and violence, and attempting to assassinate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They are also accused of crimes against legislative organs and the Turkish government.

Following the request, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim had a phone conversation, with the extradition issue being high on the agenda.

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