Greece fails to facilitate extradition treaty with Turkey, harbors 50 terrorists

The eight FETÖ-linked soldiers are escorted by police officers as they arrive at the Supreme Court in Athens, Greece, Jan. 26, 2017. (Reuters Photo)
The eight FETÖ-linked soldiers are escorted by police officers as they arrive at the Supreme Court in Athens, Greece, Jan. 26, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

As a top court in Greece denied Turkey's request for extradition of eight fugitive soldiers involved with the July 15 coup attempt of Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), Turkish officials and media outlets once again pointed to Greece's support for terror groups targeting Turkey.

Recent reports in media suggested based on sources from the Ministry of Justice stated that Greece has denied extradition requests of 50 terrorists sought by Turkey in the past 10 years, most of whom are affiliated with left-wing terrorist groups.

Turkey has sought the extradition of 50 terrorists from Greece in accordance with bilateral and international treaties since 2007, however, all of these requests were denied.

In addition to the latest controversy involving eight pro-coup soldiers affiliated to the FETÖ, which had killed 248 people and injured 2,200 others in their coup attempt, the extradition requests include terrorists from groups are advocating armed insurgency against the state and had carried out or have been carrying out armed attacks against Turkish security forces and political parties, in addition to other targets.

Rejected extradition requests include six members of the DEV-SOL (The Revolutionary Left), 24 members of the DHKP-C (Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front), one member of the Turkish (or Kurdish) Hezbollah, one member of the MLKP (the illegal Marxist-Leninist Communist Party), one member of the THKP-C (the People's Liberation Party-Front of Turkey), one member of the PKK, five members of the TKP-ML (the illegal Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist) and three from other groups.

Greece has long been accused of being a favorite hideaway for terrorists from the DHKP-C and the PKK. Terrorists fleeing Turkey took shelter in refugee camps in Lavrion near Athens under the guise of asylum seekers, especially in the 1980s. Despite the closure of Lavrion in 2013 amid pressure from Turkey, Greece continues to be the primary destination for DHKP-C terrorists.

Denied requests for DHKP-C terrorists make up almost half of the list, despite the group being one of most active terrorist groups in Turkey. Recently on Jan. 20, two DHKP-C terrorists tried to attack police headquarters and ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) provincial headquarters in Istanbul with light anti-tank weapons, luckily without any injuries. The two terrorists escaped to the west to Tekirdağ in Thrace region, with one of them captured dead and the other detained before launching another attack in the province and possibly to flee onto Greece.

The group is an offshoot of a larger Marxist-Leninist movement that was established in the 1970s. It was founded in the 1990s after it splintered off from a larger group of far-left organizations responsible for a string of attacks that include the assassination of two politicians in 1980, several intelligence officials and Özdemir Sabancı, a member of the Sabancı family, one of the richest families in Turkey owning a large conglomerate of companies.

Here are some of other DHKP-C terrorists whose extradition requests were denied by Greece:

Ecevit Şanlı: Following his conditional release from prison in Turkey in 2002 due to his medical condition, DHKP-C terrorist Şanlı fled to Greece and was not extradited to Turkey. He was the terrorist who carried the suicide bombing attack at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara in Feb. 2013, killing a security guard and injuring three others, including a journalist. An investigation into the attack pointed to Şanlı's arrival to Ankara from Lavrion.

İsmail Akkol: Akkol was the third assailant of the controversial Özdemir Sabancı murder in 1996 that killed Sabancı, ToyotaSA General Manager Haluk Görgün and his secretary Nilgün Hasefe. Along with the murder's second assailant Mustafa Duyar, he was also being sought for killing two soldiers who were guarding the entrance of provincial gendarmerie command in Istanbul.

Akkol fled to Greece and lived there for years under a fake name. He was detained in an operation by Greek security forces against a DHKP-C hideout in 2014, in which firearms and explosives were found. Akkol was not charged with terror related crimes, and sentenced to eight years in prison, only to be released in July 2015 with a parole. He was detained in western town of Söke in Feb. 2016 after he crossed the Aegean Sea into Turkey along with another DHKP-C terrorist. Both were in possession of long-barreled weapons and explosives, probably on their way to carry out a terrorist attack.

Fehriye Erdal, the third suspect in Sabancı murder, was captured in Belgium in 1999 but was not extradited to Turkey despite numerous efforts. She was acquitted of all charges in 2008, and went missing. Several media reports suggested that she was executed by the terrorist group probably in the Balkans, however, she reappeared in Belgium last year. She was not extradited to Turkey, however, Belgian authorities finally charged her for her role in the murder with 30 years.

Mehmet Yayla & Hasan Biber: Two terrorists were captured by Greek security forces near the Aegean island of Chios after attacking the Ministry of Justice and AK Party headquarters in Ankara in 2013.

Yayla later ordered the assassination of Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz in 2015 in an attack that was carried out by his brother Şafak Yayla and another terrorist named Bahattin Doğruyol. Bulut Yayla, third brother of Mehmet and Şafak, was arrested in 2013 while trying to cross into Turkey from Greece in 2013.

Biber was also released along with Akkol in 2014. He was reported to have crossed into Turkey with a fake ID around the same time with Akkol, however, his whereabouts remain unknown.

Kadir Kaya: He was one of the leading organizers in prison riots and death fasts in early 2000's against maximum security F-type prisons aimed at breaking terrorist groups' control and recruiting in the existing dormitory system. The overall death toll in the riots and death fasts both in and outside of prisons and ensuing police operations was higher than 120 people, which included inmates, their relatives, DHKP-C militants and sympathizers and two soldiers. Upon his conditional release on medical conditions, he fled to Greece and was not extradited to Turkey.

Hüseyin Fevzi Tekin: Tekin was being sought by Turkey when he was arrested in Greece in the raid that Akkol was also captured. Greece turned down Turkey's extradition request.

Nevzat Kalaycı: He was the so-called Aegean region leader of the DHKP-C before fleeing to Greece. Despite a red notice by Interpol, Greece turned down Turkey's extradition requests.

Hasan Koşar: After being involved with terror attacks in Turkey, Koşar fled to Greece. He even carried out a Molotov-cocktail attack against Turkish Consulate General in Piraeus, however, was not extradited despite Turkey's efforts and released shortly afterwards.
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