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International Defense News-AFP
16.05.2018 17:03


Greece-army-Turkey-diplomacy-trial Turkish 'coup' officers 'afraid' to stay in Greece: lawyers Athens, May 16, 2018 (AFP) - Eight Turkish officers who fled to Greece following the failed 2016 army coup are now "afraid" to stay and want to leave the country, their lawyers said Wednesday. "They are afraid of staying in Greece" because of possible capture by Turkish state agents, law professor Nikos Alivizatos, a member of the defence team, told a news conference. If granted access and travel documents, they will seek to relocate to another EU country or elsewhere, he said. Two of the eight men -- whom Ankara wants to extradite as 'terrorists' - have been granted asylum. The Greek state has contested the ruling, and the country's top administrative court is to decide on the issue soon. The case is awkward for Athens, which relies on Turkey's assistance in stemming huge migratory and refugee flows from crossing the Aegean. A further complication arose in March, when Turkish forces arrested two Greek soldiers who crossed the border whilst allegedly lost in the fog. They have been incarcerated for the past two months. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month floated the idea of an exchange, which was flatly rejected by his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Greece's Supreme Court has ruled that the eight Turkish soldiers will not be extradited, arguing that they would not have a fair trial at home. The refusal of other EU countries such as Germany and the Netherlands to extradite Turkish diplomats and officers also caused problems in their relations with Turkey, said Vassilis Papadopoulos, legal coordinator of the Greek council for refugees. Ankara says the soldiers are part of the movement led by Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for masterminding the coup attempt. The men deny involvement in the coup bid. hec/jph/bp

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