Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on Monday condemned the Greek Supreme Court's decision last week to not extradite the eight military officers with links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which took part in the deadly July 15 military coup. The eight officers fled to Greece the day after a botched coup attempt in Turkey that is largely believed to be carried out by FETÖ.
Arguing that such an attitude will sour bilateral ties between the two NATO allies and would naturally result in reciprocal measures by Turkey, Justice Minister Bozdağ said, "The internationally accepted principle of reciprocity will be applied to all countries that refused to extradite people directly linked to FETÖ." Speaking on a local news channel, Bozdağ said that after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım's exchange with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Turkey expected the implicated officers to be returned to face justice. "To decline our perfectly reasonable request may harm our ties, a fact that I believe both sides are aware of," Bozdağ said, adding that another request for the extradition of the said eight officers had been submitted, as well as new evidence implicating the group in the deadly coup.
The eight officers had direct links to the special squad formed to assassinate President Erdoğan, Bozdağ said, adding, "They have the blood of innocent civilians on their hands and they have relations with the assassination team. Moreover, they were actively engaged in the coup attempt." Turkey expected understanding from its NATO ally with respect to the grievous crimes committed by the eight officers, Bozdağ argued, adding that Greece should have known better especially as a country that suffered from such coups in the past.
In a direct message to Tsipras, Bozdağ said no one could defend sheltering fugitives from justice by arguing that courts were independent. Tsipras had previously assured Erdoğan that the eight fugitives would soon be returned, a promise he failed to keep. Bozdağ further added that Greece has refused to extradite even one of the 50 terrorists, whose extradition Turkey has been requesting since 2007. The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a terrorist group recognized by the U.S., EU and Turkey, continues to freely operate in Greece, Bozdağ said.
"There are 24 known DHKP-C terrorists currently living in Greece. These criminals continue to do harm to the citizens of Turkey but are held in high esteem by Western countries. This is true not only for Greece, but also for Germany and France," he said. The DHKP-C is a dangerous group that has ruthlessly assassinated businessmen and members of both the country's security forces and judiciary many times in the past. One of the group's members recently carried out a deadly suicide attack against the U.S. Embassy in Ankara in 2013.
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