Greece grants asylum to third Turkish serviceman

A Greek committee approved the granting of political asylum to the third of eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after the coup attempt in Turkey in 2016, Ekathimerini reported on Thursday.

The situation of the eight servicemen has strained relations between Turkey and Greece, as Turkey has demanded the men be sent back to face trial for taking part in the coup attempt, which it blames on the Islamist Gülen movement.

After Turkey grabbed six members of the Gülen movement in Kosovo in March, fearing that it may try the same in Greece or even attempt to assassinate the eight servicemen, Greek authorities released the soldiers from administrative custody in May and put them in a secure location for their safety. In response, the Turkish government suspended a bilateral deal for migrants who are not eligible for international protection to be readmitted to Turkey after crossing into Greece.

The Asylum Committee will gather in the coming days to make its ruling on the asylum application of the remaining five servicemen, who according to Ekathimerini will likely also be granted asylum.