Greece to brief NATO on Turkey pledge to bring back fugitive soldiers

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos is to brief a meeting of NATO defence ministers on Thursday on remarks made by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ who said it was Turkey’s duty to bring back eight of its soldiers to face trial on charges of taking part in the 2016 coup, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

A Greek court rejected Turkey’s request to extradite the eight men sent back to Turkey on the grounds they would not face a fair trial. The soldiers fled to Greece in a military helicopter after the failure of the bid to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. All eight soldiers have been released from police custody and remain under tight security at an undisclosed location in Greece.

“It is our duty to find these putschist soldiers wherever they are, pack them up and bring them to Turkey,” Bozdağ said on Monday. He also blamed Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for failing to hand over the eight soldiers.

Kammenos said Bozdağ’s comments would allow Greece “to demonstrate in the most simple manner how Turkey violates international law, international treaties, and (how it) tries to torpedo efforts at peaceful coexistence in the region,” Kathimerini quoted him as saying.