Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday he did not promise to extradite eight former Turkish soldiers seeking asylum in Greece after a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“I couldn’t have promised this. I’m aware of the separation of powers in Greece. I wouldn’t be able to make a promise to the leader of a foreign country about a ruling the judicial authorities would make,” Tsipras said.
Two applications for asylum filed by the former Turkish servicemen, who were in police custody until recently, have thus far been approved by the Greek Council of State in May, despite Turkey’s repeated demands for their extradition.
Following the soldiers’ release by Greek officials, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced on June 7 that they had suspended a bilateral migrant readmission deal with Greece.
“The Greek government wants to solve this issue. However, in the meantime we can see that Greece, especially its judges is being pressured by the West,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Greek Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis on June 11 told the Guardian that they were “enforcing the greatest possible measures” to secure the safety of former Turkish soldiers in a place which for obvious reasons would remain unknown.
Touching on the detention of two Greek soldiers in Turkey, Tsipras also said they had done everything they could in the diplomatic arena and now had to be patient.
The Greek soldiers were detained on March 2 for entering a prohibited military zone in Turkey’s Edirne province, which borders Greece.