Turkey, Politics, Europe, July 15 coup bid

Greek court refuses to extradite Turkish coup suspects

8 fugitive soldiers linked to July 2016 coup plot will not be sent to Turkey for trial, Supreme Court rules

26.01.2017
Greek court refuses to extradite Turkish coup suspects

ATHENS

Greece will not extradite any of the eight fugitive Turkish soldiers, which the Turkish government accuses of having links to the July 2016 foiled coup attempt, Supreme Court judges said Thursday.

The Supreme Court decision is final and comes after two rounds of appeals.

The eight soldiers -- Maj. Ahmet Guzel, Maj. Gencay Boyuk, Capt. Feridun Coban, Sgt. Mesut Firat, Capt. Abdullah Yetik, Capt. Ugur Ucan, Capt. Suleyman Ozkaynakci and Sgt. Bilal Kurugul -- fled Turkey a few hours after the defeated coup attempt of July 2016 which left at least 248 people martyred and more than 2,000 injured.

They arrived in Greece on a stolen Black Hawk helicopter and immediately requested asylum.

According to the Turkish authorities, four of the fugitive soldiers in Greece have also links to the squad which tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the night of the July 15 defeated coup.

The Terror and Organized Crime Bureau of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office found early January that four of the soldiers had telephone conversations the night of July 15 with two of the would-be assassins. 

Greek authorities were told of the link, the bureau had said.

According to the Turkish Justice Ministry,  the eight coup plotter soldiers hijacked five military helicopters from the Samandira Airbase in Istanbul at the coup night. Video footage shows attack helicopters and warplanes opening fire on civilians, police buildings and vehicles along with Turkey's parliament and presidential complex.  

One of those helicopters was missioned to assassinate Erdogan in Marmaris, the ministry revealed. The remaining three choppers were later found abandoned at the airbase.

The president, who was vacationing in the southwestern Mugla province the night of the coup, left for Istanbul after being alerted about the coup bid and narrowly escaped an armed attack on the hotel he was staying at in Marmaris. The hotel was bombed 15 minutes after he left.

The suspects tried to assassinate Erdogan in accordance with the orders of Fetullah Gulen, the leader of the FETO terrorist group, according to Turkey.

After the coup attempt, Turkish authorities also expressed fear that fugitive soldiers may organize attacks against the Turkish state.

"They and their collaborators may go into some individual actions, assassinations. They may attempt to cyber attack, the country's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said during an interview last August. 

The Turkish government has repeatedly requested the extradition of the eight alleged coup plotters, promising they would have fair trials.

Many officials have called for the death penalty to be reinstated for the putschists since the July 2016 defeated coup, yet, Turkey is an EU membership candidate, and it abolished the death penalty in 2004.

Turkey issues new warrants for 8 fugitive coup soldiers

A court in Istanbul has issued arrest warrants in absentia for eight fugitive Turkish soldiers who escaped to Greece after the July 2016 defeated coup, according to a judicial source.

The Public Prosecutor of Istanbul, which is carrying out an investigation into the defeated attempt, demanded the arrest of the fugitive Turkish soldiers on Thursday.

The court also ruled to ask the Justice Ministry to request an Interpol red notice for those fugitive soldiers.

Greek coup in 1974

After seven years of dictatorship of 1967 military coup, Greece brought the military coup leaders into trial after the fall of military junta, in early August 1975.

The government of Konstantinos Karamanlis brought charges of high treason and insurrection against Georgios Papadopoulos and other co-conspirators. 

Besides Papadopoulos, the principal coup leaders, Georgios Stylianos Pattakos and Nikolaos Makarezos, were sentenced to death for high treason, following the trial.

Shortly after the sentences were announced, they were commuted to life imprisonment by the then Karamanlis government.

*AA reporter Burcu Arik contributed to this story from Istanbul.

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