Turkey yesterday handed over a new batch of evidence to Greece that showed the direct involvement of former officers in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Eight officers had fled with a military helicopter to Greece on July 16, 2016. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised to extradite the officers as soon as possible but Greek judiciary has constantly created obstacles.
Deputy Justice Minister Bilal Uçar, speaking to reporters at Turkey's Embassy in Athens, said he had handed over a new batch of evidence that had been uncovered during recent trials as part of Turkey's third application for the officers' extradition.
After the July 15 coup attempt, eight soldiers, including two commanders, four captains and two sergeants, escaped to Greece on a Sikorsky helicopter and landed in Alexandroupolis. Following their landing, the eight suspected FETÖ members asked for asylum from Greek authorities.
Led by U.S.-based imam Fetullah Gülen, FETÖ sought to topple the Turkish government and seize power on July 15, 2016, through a military coup and impose martial law.
The attempt was prevented by military troops loyal to the government, along with police units and millions of Turkish citizens in favor of democracy.
In total 250 people, mostly civilians were killed by pro-coup soldiers, while over 2,000 people were injured.
Uçar said he had met with Greek Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis and other officials. "We talked about the extradition of the officers and other FETÖ suspects who have fled to the country." He said there was some discussion on the extradition of members of the terrorist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which carried out the attack on the U.S. Embassy in 2013.
"Turkey's arguments are clear. We want the eight soldiers extradited. Previous documents handed over included information during the investigation stage. Now, I gave documents on the indictment of the trial that involves these eight coup plotters and another 11 suspects."
Of the eight soldiers, four faced charges on murder and attempted murder, he said. Additionally, the extradition of another two soldiers was sought, he said.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, Greek Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis said there was no way the soldiers could be extradited after the Greek Supreme Court decided against it. "I hope the Turkish side understands this," he said, suggesting Turkey to apply for the trial of the eight soldiers in Greece for the crimes committed in Turkey.
Uçar said there was no way these suspects could be tried in Greece for their involvement in the coup attempt.