Extradition of Turkish officers in Greece unlikely – Greek law professor

It is unlikely that the Greek government will extradite back to Turkey eight Turkish military officers who fled the country in the wake of the failed July 2016 coup attempt, Greek law professor Nikos Alivizatos told German state news agency Deutsche Welle.

“I don't think extradition is on the table, unless these men were actually part of the coup or violate Greek law in an extreme way,” Alivizatos said.

“But even if they're not extradited, they won't automatically be granted asylum and they still won't have passports or identification.”

However, they may well be able to benefit from the Schengen zone to move to Germany, where those accused of being involved with the coup have received a more sympathetic hearing from authorities, Alivizatos said.

“They would be free to go. They could potentially be extradited to a third country willing to look into their asylum applications. In this context I'd like to remind you that Germany granted asylum to many people who fled Turkey after the attempted coup, including high-ranking military officials,” he said.

Ankara says the eight men participated in the coup attempt and should be sent back to face charges, while Athens says there is no conclusive evidence tying them to the attempt, Alivizatos said.

One of the men, the pilot of the helicopter, was released by authorities, but then detained again and his asylum suspended after pressure from Ankara, he said.

If they were not given asylum, the men would have to find another country that would accept them.

“Being granted asylum would be the only way these people could legally remain in Greece,” Alivizatos said.