May 15 2018

Athens Appeals Court approves asylum of second Turkish officer

The Athens Appeals Court has approved an asylum request of another one of the eight soldiers who fled to neighboring Greece in a military helicopter following the failed 2016 coup attempt against the Turkish government, Evren Dede reported for Ahval Turkish.

Turkey requested the extradition of the men, who are accused of participating in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, and Greece declined citing the judicial process. This has further strained relations between the two NATO allies who are at odds over issues ranging from the fighter jet incursions over the Aegean Sea to the issue of Cyprus, which is divided between Greek and Turkish states.

Last week, the Greek Asylum Unit had decided that Ahmet Güzel should be released and allowed to seek asylum; the Greek Ministry of Migration Policy applied for the decision to be suspended.

The Athens Appeals Court denied an application by the Greek Ministry of Migration Policy to suspend the decision on Güzel.

With this decision, the total number of Turkish soldiers whose asylum requests have been accepted in Greece is two. Süleyman Özkaynakçı, the first Turk whose application was accepted, remains under house arrest, Dede reported.

The eight men - three majors, three captains and two sergeant majors - flew to Greece, saying they feared for their lives. They have all requested asylum.