Greece grants asylum to FETÖ-linked coup soldier

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Greek authorities accepted Saturday the asylum request of one of the eight FETÖ-linked putschist soldiers, who fled Turkey after the failed July 15 coup attempt, which was orchestrated by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).

Gülenist soldier Süleyman Özkaynakçı, who was the co-pilot of the helicopter during the escape, was reportedly released with a ruling of the 3rd Independent Secondary Asylum Committee, while the remaining seven are still under custody. Greece previously rejected several times Turkey's extradition requests for the putschist soldiers.

The Greek government said following the decision that it will seek to invalidate a decision by the country's Asylum Appeals Authority.

The prime minister's office announced later Saturday that "following (the government's) established position on the eight Turkish military officers" it had applied for an invalidation of the authority's decision.

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. Before their asylum request was taken to the court, a Greek court sentenced the eight men to a suspended two-month jail sentence for illegal entry into Greece. Ankara has formally requested from Greece the extradition of the FETÖ members who were allegedly behind the coup attempt, to face trial in Turkey.

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.

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