Fugitive Turkish ex-soldiers who fled to Greece after a 2016 coup bid should stand trial in Turkey, Ambassador to Greece Burak Özügergin said on Friday.
Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency (AA) in Athens, Özügergin reviewed bilateral ties following Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' two-day visit to Turkey on Feb. 5, when he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Referring to the fugitive ex-soldiers accused of having links to the foiled coup attempt, Özügergin said: "The putschists should be tried by Turkish justice [system] after being extradited to Turkey."
A few hours after the July 2016 coup attempt of military infiltrators of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) to overthrow the Turkish government, eight ex-military personnel arrived in Greece on a hijacked Black Hawk helicopter and requested asylum. Turkey immediately issued an extradition request, which was eventually declined by the Greek Supreme Court in January 2017, after a series of trials and appeals.
Earlier this month, Turkey put a $12.8-million bounty on dozens of FETÖ fugitives. Ex-majors, who escaped to Greece following the coup bid, Gencay Boyuk and Ahmet Güzel, former captains Abdullah Yetik, Feridun Çoban, Süleyman Özkaynakçı and Uğur Uçan and ex-sergeants Bilal Kurugül and Mesut Fırat, were also placed in the red category of the Interior Ministry's list.
The officers are wanted in connection with their roles in the coup attempt's Istanbul leg. When the coup attempt failed, they fled the headquarters of the 66th Mechanized Infantry Brigade in the city where they were deployed. Greece turned into a haven for Gülenists after eight putschists fled there, as the rising number of FETÖ suspects taking shelter there shows. Some members of the group have chosen to reside in Greece, while others await processing of their asylum requests or look for ways to enter other European countries via Greece.