(Greece) – Turkey has issued a formal request that the eight soldiers who fled to Greece during the Turkish coup back on July 15, 2016 be returned to Turkey. Greece received a formal document from the Turkish Just Ministry requesting that the eight officers who left Turkey during the coup in a black hawk helicopter be returned to their country in order to face trial in Turkey. The men have been charged with plotting to kill the Turkish president and for crimes against the parliament.
The men fear that if they do return, they won’t be given a fair trial, but the Turkish government maintains that they would. They deny having any involvement in the coup, which ultimately resulted in around 270 deaths. In addition to that, parliament was bombed. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan escaped an attack made on him while he was on vacation, and the current Turkish government maintains control of the country, making the coup unsuccessful.
The eight soldiers maintain that they fled to Greece because they weren’t aware of the coup until after it was unfolding, and were told to follow orders. The men had said that they feared for their lives so they made the decision to fly to Greece. The men stood trial in Greece and were charged with illegal entry. Meanwhile, they also applied for political asylum in Greece. Turkey had been saying all along that they wanted the men returned, but they hadn’t issued a formal request until now.
The government has alleged that the coup was caused by Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who is based in the United States. According to Turkey, he has gained support in the military over a period of several years. As a result of the coup, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and has been cracking down on Gulen’s supporters. Greece has yet to take action on the request to send the men back to Turkey.