Greek appeals court approves asylum for 2nd Turkish officer

The Athens Court of Appeals has approved the asylum request of another military officer who fled to neighboring Greece in a military helicopter following a controversial coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, according to a report by online news outlet Ahval on Tuesday.

The Turkish government has requested the extradition of the men, who are accused of participating in the coup attempt, but Greece has declined, citing the judicial process. This has further strained relations between the two NATO allies who are at odds over issues ranging from fighter jet incursions over the Aegean Sea to the issue of Cyprus, which is divided between Greek and Turkish states.

Last week the Greek Asylum Unit had decided that Ahmet Güzel should be released and allowed to seek asylum; the Greek Ministry of Migration Policy applied for suspension of the decision.

The Athens Court of Appeals denied the request by the ministry to suspend the decision on Güzel. With this approval, two Turkish soldiers have been granted asylum in Greece. Süleyman Özkaynakçı, the first Turkish military officer whose application was approved, remains under house arrest.

Eight Turkish military members, including three majors, three captains and two sergeant majors, flew to Greece, saying they feared for their lives. They have all requested asylum.

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