Greek Minister of Immigration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas said Wednesday there were "serious findings" that prove the eight asylum-seeking soldiers were "putschists," commenting on the suspected Gülenist soldiers who fled Turkey after the defeated coup attempt in 2016.
Speaking to Skai TV, Mouzalas said that the government objected to a decision taken by the Greek Asylum Committee, due to significant evidence pointing to a link between the eight soldiers and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
The Third Independent Secondary Asylum Committee previously accepted the asylum request of one of the eight FETÖ-linked putschist soldiers. The Greek government, however, later applied for an invalidation of the authority's decision, upon which Süleyman Özkaynakçı was detained again.
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 requested asylum from Greek authorities.
Before their asylum request was reviewed, a Greek court sentenced the eight men to a suspended two-month jail sentence for illegal entry into Greece.
Ankara has formally requested that Greece extradite 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, seize power and impose martial law through a military coup on July 15, 2016.
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.