Turkey, Europe

Greece may hold trial for Turkey's coup plotters

8 ex-soldiers had fled to Greece following defeated coup attempt in Turkey

04.01.2018
Greece may hold trial for Turkey's coup plotters

By Tony Rigopoulos

ATHENS

Greece may try eight dismissed Turkish soldiers who had fled to the country after the July 2016 defeated coup attempt, a minister said Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference, Greek Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis said the government will consider holding a trial for them if Ankara files an official request.

He also quoted Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who had said the former soldiers should have a fair trial.

The Greek Penal Code permits foreign nationals to be tried in Greece for offenses they have allegedly committed in another country.

Meanwhile, a trial in absentia is being held for the ex-soldiers in an Istanbul court.

Regarding their extradition to Turkey, Kontonis said: "The issue of the extradition is definitively closed. The Supreme Court's decision is absolutely respected by us. I cannot understand why some legal circles keep bringing it up. Too much fuss for nothing."

Last January, the Greek Supreme Court ruled against extradition of the former soldiers -- a move Turkey called "politically motivated".

Last week, one of the eight Turkish servicemen was granted asylum by Greece.

Decisions on the rest of the officers are expected during the next weeks, creating diplomatic tension between the two countries.

Turkey has repeatedly called for their extradition, including during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's official visit to Greece last month.

The coup plotter soldiers had arrived in Alexandroupolis, Greece, aboard a stolen military helicopter hours after the defeated coup in July 15, 2016.

Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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