Turkey accuses Greece of protecting coup plotters with release of officer

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Turkish officers are escorted by Greek special police forces as they leave the Greek Supreme Court in Athens, after a hearing. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has accused Greece of protecting military officers who were allegedly involved in a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 due to the release of one of the officers from jail who sought refuge in Greece following the coup attempt.

Greece’s top administrative court on Thursday ordered the release of Süleyman Özkaynakçı, one of eight Turkish officers who fled to Greece following the failed coup.

The Greek court’s rulings on the remaining suspects have not yet been issued. but it is likely that they will be released as well. The court has imposed restrictions on Özkaynakçı’s movements while he awaits a decision on his asylum application.

In a statement on Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the release of one of the eight Turkish officers in Greece has once again shown that “Greece protects the coupists.”

“The Greek judiciary has prepared the groundwork for such a result by constantly refusing the extradition of the heinous coupists who attacked the democracy of our country. Our determination concerning the extradition of the heinous coupists and their trial in our country continues,” said the ministry’s statement.

The eight men, three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors, flew by helicopter to northern Greece a day after the failed coup and sought asylum, saying they feared for their lives if they remained in Turkey.

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