Hearing continues for Turkish pro-coup soldiers fled to Greece

ANADOLU AGENCY
ATHENS
Published 22.08.2016 18:54

Monday marked the second day of the hearing procedure for eight Turkish pro-coup soldiers, who fled the country following last month's coup bid, and sought asylum in Greece.

Cpt. Abdullah Yetik was interviewed by the Greek Asylum Service in Athens in the presence of his lawyer, Stavroula Tomara.

Tomara said, Yetik, just like Cpt. Feridun Çoban who was the first soldier interviewed on Friday, did not complete his statement and is set to continue after the first round of hearings are completed by month's end.

"They are accused of attempting to murder Erdoğan. However, they did not even participate in any flights from their base in Istanbul towards Marmaris, where Erdogan was staying at the time," Tomara told reporters after the hearing.

According to Tomara, the times do not add up.

"It can be proven because they were operating Blackhawk and Huey helicopters and these particular helicopters, with full tanks, can fly for two and a half hours at most.

"Which means that they would need to refuel after that which would take about another half hour. That means in total it would take them about four and a half hours to get to Marmaris," she said.

The eight Turkish soldiers fled their country July 16, the morning after the failed coup attempt, and arrived in Greece aboard a hijacked military helicopter.

They are seeking asylum on the grounds that "their safety will be in jeopardy" if they return to Turkey.

Turkey demands that Greece extradites them and promises to give them a fair trial.

"[In case they get extradited] they fear for their lives and the tortures they will have to endure since they believe that [Turkish President] Erdogan will bring up the subject of death penalty and will pass it on to the Turkish Parliament after they are extradited," Tomara said.

"We will try for them to not be extradited and we believe that they will not," she added.

Greece received Turkey's official extradition request last Thursday, which states that the eight soldiers are charged with violating the Turkish constitution using force and violence, and attempting to assassinate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They are also accused of crimes against legislative organs and the Turkish government.

The original hearing for the Turkish military personnel was set to begin at the end of July but the case was postponed upon the request of the defense lawyers in order to gain sometime to better prepare their cases.

The soldiers are also being heard heard one by one instead of being interviewed in pairs as was originally decided, so they can take advantage of the full attention of their lawyers.

The initial hearings will now be completed on August 30.

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