Greece frees all Turkish soldiers seeking asylum after coup attempt, lawyer says

Omiros Zelios, a lawyer representing eight former Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece seeking asylum on the night of a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, said on Monday that all his clients were released from police custody last week, according to AP.

They are now living in a secret location under heavy police protection.

The soldiers had been taken into police custody immediately after they arrived in Greece.

The Greek Council of State on May 23 approved Süleyman Özkaynakçı’s application after considering an objection lodged by the Greek government to a decision to grant asylum to the ex-soldier in December 2017.

The decision has created tension between Greece and Turkey. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has reacted angrily to news Monday that the last four Turkish servicemen of eight who fled to Greece after a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey were released after their 18 months of maximum detention expired, with a spokesman accusing Athens of becoming “a refuge for coup plotters,” the Greek ekathimerini news website reported.

“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,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement Tuesday, adding that “we had expressed the hope that the Greek justice would not repeat the same mistakes with such unilateral decisions,” said a statement released by Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy on Monday.

“Greece has clearly become a refuge for coup plotters. It boasts being the cradle of democracy but its stance is incompatible with international law and good neighborly relations,” he claimed adding that Ankara would continue to pursue their extradition.

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