25 March 2019

Turkish soldier’s asylum status suspended in Greece

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The asylum status of a Turkish soldier who fled the country along with seven others after a failed coup in 2016 has been suspended following a request by the Greek government which said it should have a say in the case. reports citing Reuters.

An appeals court in Athens ruled on Monday that the soldier, who had been granted asylum by an independent asylum council on December 29, should wait for a formal court hearing on the council’s decision scheduled for February 15.

The court said the suspension order was given “for reasons of public interest” and after a request by the Greek government which said the issue was politically too important to be adjudicated by an administrative body.

Authorities detained the soldier on Monday although the court had asked them to refrain from taking any action that could precipitate the individual leaving Greece.

The soldier was among a group of eight servicemen, including three majors, three captains, and two sergeant majors, who fled Turkey by a helicopter after July 15, 2016, coup attempt crumbled.

Ankara swiftly demanded the extradition of the eight soldiers, something that Athens initially accepted but later said it was up to its independent judiciary system to rule on their status.

Greece’s justice minister said last week that there was a possibility for Athens to hold trials for the soldiers in the country. The soldiers, who have denied any involvement in the coup in Turkey and insist they fled the country out of fear for their lives, have yet to be formally charged by Greece.

More than 250 people were killed in Turkey’s botched putsch, which Ankara said was carried out by renegade elements within the army and masterminded by Fetullah Gulen, a Turkish opposition cleric based in the US.

2018.01.08 / 18:44
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