Greece Blocks Extradition of Turkey Coup Suspects

Greece Blocks Extradition of Turkey Coup SuspectsGreece Blocks Extradition of Turkey Coup Suspects

Greece's Supreme Court has ruled against extraditing eight Turkish air force officers, in a decision likely to complicate relations between the two countries.

Turkey said it would review its ties with Athens in light of the ruling, Aljazeera reported.

"We will carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of this decision, which we believe has been taken with a political motive, on our bilateral ties, cooperation in the fight against terrorism and on other bilateral and regional issues," a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said.

Turkish authorities want the officers to stand trial for their alleged involvement in the coup last July and issued arrest warrants for the eight men in an apparent response to the ruling.

The eight have been in police custody since landing at Alexandroupoli airport in a Turkish Army helicopter on July 16. The court set all of them free, but it was not clear when that freedom would take effect. The group had sat petrified in court before the decision, but as the first rulings were read out, they began to smile and nod in acknowledgment.

"We didn't escape the war. We just saved our lives and waiting has changed our lives," one officer later told Aljazeera on condition of anonymity. He said that he and his colleagues made up their minds to escape after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his supporters to rise up against the coup, leading to clashes with troops and bloodshed.

Turkey has dismissed an estimated 100,000 people from public sector jobs on suspicion of political affiliations hostile to the ruling AKP Party. An estimated 36,000 have been arrested on suspicion of collusion in the July 16 coup attempt.

Caption:  The eight Turkish servicemen are escorted by Greek police officers outside Greece’s Supreme Court on Thursday.


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