Jan 09 2018

Greek government intervenes in Turkish coup officer asylum case

A military helicopter pilot who fled Turkey in the wake of the July 2016 failed coup was granted asylum last month, but this has now been suspended after the Greek government appealed, AFP said.

The asylum was suspended “for reasons of public interest”, the news agency quoted the Athens Administrative Court of Appeal as saying.

The Greek government said the granting of asylum to the co-pilot on the grounds of the possible violation of his human rights “endangered diplomatic relations with Turkey”, AFP said.

"This is an important decision, we welcome it with satisfaction," Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ responded, saying that the return of the pilot, plus seven other Turkish military officers who had flown to Greece on July 16, 2016, would help improve bilateral ties.

The July 15 coup attempt saw members of the Turkish military seek to kidnap Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and overthrow his democratically elected government in advance of an anticipated purge of officers deemed to be disloyal to the government – most saliently, those believed to be aligned with the Fethullah Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the attempt.