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Erdoğan to demand extradition of coup plotters during Greek visit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) shake hands as they pose for a photo before their meeting in Beijing, China on May 13, 2017. AFP Photo.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to demand the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers who allegedly took part in a failed coup last year and fled to Greece to seek asylum during a two-day visit to Greece starting on Thursday.

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Erdoğan will have talks with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens. He is expected to raise the extradition of eight soldiers who sought asylum in Greece after fleeing to Alexandroupoli in a Black Hawk army helicopter.

Meanwhile, ahead of Erdoğan’s visit Tsipras said that “coup plotters are not welcome in Greece.”

“My stance on the issue has always been clear. Coup plotters are not welcome in Greece. We are continuing our cooperation with Turkey in terms of security and the judiciary,” Tsipras told Anadolu.

Greece’s Supreme Court on Jan. 26 ruled against an extradition request by Ankara, stating that the men would not get a fair trial in Turkey and that their lives would be at risk if they returned.

Meanwhile, a Greek court on Dec. 4 ordered the arrest of nine Turkish citizens pending trial for terrorism-related offenses, including links to an outlawed militant group behind a series of suicide bombings in Turkey.

“I believe that the first visit by a Turkish president after decades will offer an important opportunity to take bold steps toward the future,” Tsipras said.

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