World, Europe

Greece: Turkish PM slams okaying of FETO members asylum

Greek Asylum Commission accepted petition of ex-Turkish soldiers suspected of involvement in coup bid

20.05.2018
Greece: Turkish PM slams okaying of FETO members asylum One of the 8 Turkish fugitive soldiers, Suleyman Ozkaynakci is brought to Asylum Service in Athens, Greece on January 8, 2018.

By Furkan Naci Top

ATHENS

The Turkish premier on Sunday condemned the acceptance of asylum requests of two coup plotters by the Greek Asylum Commission.

Speaking to Greek daily To Vima, Binali Yildirim said: “However, we welcome the Greek government’s objection to the decision.”

On May 8, the Greek commission accepted the petition of former Maj. Ahmet Guzel, suspected of involvement in the July 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

Guzel is one of eight former Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece a day after the defeated coup. They are accused by Turkish authorities of involvement in the defeated coup and being members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

“They actively took part in killing of innocent people and injuring many others. They targeted an elected president,” Yildirim said, adding that the coup plotters fled the country when they realized their plot had failed.

He said the Greek justice system had violated the rights of the victims of the coup bid by acquitting FETO members.

Conflicts in the Aegean Sea

Speaking about the conflicts between two countries in the Aegean Sea, Yildirim said: “The tension cannot be solved only with Turkey’s efforts.”

He added that both sides were aware of each other’s sensitivity and should resolve issues by continuous dialogue.

“We expect Greece, including its media, to act more maturely,” Yildirim added.

He also said that “careful and patient” negotiations were needed for the solution of problems regarding the islets in the Aegean.

“No doubt, there are some geographical formations that have been given to Greece [in accordance] with international agreements. These are in a list of conflict in the Aegean,” Yildirim said.

In April, Greek youths tried to plant a flag on an islet near Didim, southwestern Turkey, the latest in a string of similar incidents.

In February, a Turkish patrol boat rammed into a Greek coast guard patrol boat near the Kardak islets in the southeastern Aegean.

In January, the Turkish Coast Guard blocked Greece’s defense minister from approaching Kardak to lay a wreath there.

A decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over the uninhabited Aegean islets brought the two countries to the brink of an armed conflict in 1996.

Greek holds the key of refugee deal

Also touching on the refugee crossings in the Aegean, Yildirim said the average number has decreased to 100 refugees from 7,000 per day after the Turkey-EU refugee deal.

In 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aiming to stem the irregular migration flow through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Turkish premier reminded that the process of sending back the undocumented migrants was proceeding slowly in Greece.

He added that the refugees were kept on the islands for long periods of times, as result losing out on the psychological element, which worked as a deterrent for the refugees.

“You are holding the key in your hands,” Yildirim said, referring to a solution to the crisis.

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