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Turkey Rages After Coup Officer Granted Asylum in Greece

Greek courts have blocked two extradition requests by Turkish authorities over an attempted coup against Erdogan in 2016.Greek courts have blocked two extradition requests by Turkish authorities over an attempted coup against Erdogan in 2016.

The Turkish foreign ministry on Saturday denounced a decision in Greece to grant asylum to a Turkish helicopter co-pilot, who fled the country after last year’s failed coup, as “politically motivated” and warned of a negative impact on bilateral relations.

The co-pilot—who flew seven other Turkish military officers to Greece—was granted asylum after Greek authorities ruled that his human rights would be at risk, in spite of repeated requests for his extradition by Ankara, Middle East Eye reported.

The decision “once again reveals that Greece is a country that protects and embraces plotters,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that the ruling was “politically motivated”.

“Greece has not shown the support and cooperation we expect from an ally in the fight against terrorism,” the statement added, warning of an impact on bilateral relations between the two countries.

The decision follows a Greek Supreme Court ruling in January that blocked the extradition of the officers, saying that they would not have a fair trial in Turkey.

Greek courts have blocked two extradition requests by Turkish authorities, drawing an angry rebuke from Ankara and highlighting the tense relations between the NATO allies, who remain at odds over various issues.

The two neighbors teetered on the brink of war in 1974, 1987 and 1996 over long-running disputes over ethnically divided Cyprus, mineral rights in the Aegean Sea and sovereignty over uninhabited islets in the Aegean.

  No Threats

The Greek foreign ministry dismissed Turkish anger on Sunday, saying “our faith in democratic principles and practices is not a weakness, but a source of strength,” Reuters reported.

“Democracies do not threaten, or can be threatened,” the foreign ministry said.

“On the contrary, they work responsibly and methodically to promote understanding and entrench stability and good neighborly relations. Greece will continue this path ...and hopes its neighbors will do the same.”

The eight soldiers had flown by helicopter to Greece in the early hours of July 16, 2016, as the attempted coup against Erdogan crumbled. They had denied involvement in the attempt.

 

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