Jun 06 2018

Turkish violations of Greek airspace reflect Ankara’s anger - Kathimerini

Turkish fighter jets embarking on a barrage of overflights in the Aegean on Tuesday following Greece’s release on Monday into protective custody of the last four of eight military servicemen that Ankara wants extradited, points to Ankara’s anger about the development, Greek Kathimerini newspaper said.

The eight Turkish men have been a source of ongoing tension between Turkey and Greece. Turkey has demanded the men be sent back to face trial for taking part in the 2016 coup attempt, which it blames on the Islamist Gülen movement.

Greece alleges that on Tuesday, four Turkish F-16s entered Athens’s Flight Information Region (FIR) and conducted seven unauthorized flights over the southeastern Aegean islets of Mavra, Levitha, Kinaros and Agathonis.

The alleged violations follow Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ’s comments on Monay Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday for going back on his alleged promise to extradite the soldiers, the daily said, recalling that ‘’the Turkish Foreign Ministry yesterday accused Athens on Tuesday of becoming “a refuge for coup plotters.”

Kathimerini quotes Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy who said that Ankara is determined to ensure the return of the “traitors” so that they stand trial in Turkey:

“We have often stated that we condemn Greece’s refusal to extradite the eight traitors to Turkey who plotted [the failed coup on] July 15, 2016, as we had condemned the decision of Greek justice to free and grant asylum to the first of them.”

News emerged this week that all eight of the Turkish officers had been released into protective police custody.

Greek courts rejected Turkish extradition demands arguing the men would not receive a fair trial in Turkey.