(Greece) – Eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece in a Black Hawk helicopter and landed at the Alexandroupolis have been charged with illegal entry into Greece. The soldiers were taken before the prosecutor in Alexandroupolis on Sunday where they were charged. Amongst the eight soldiers there were three majors, two sergeants, and the rest were captains in the Turkish Air Force. In addition to the “illegal entry” charges, seven of the soldiers were said to have “instigated the illegal entrance” and the pilot of the Black Hawk was said to “execute the illegal entrance.” The soldiers were also initially charged with “endangering friendly relations of the Greek state with a third state and setting Greek people’s lives in a danger” but that particular charge was dropped. They are scheduled to appear in court in Alexandropoulis on Monday.
The soldiers fled to Greece fearing for their lives if they were to return to Turkey. Although the death penalty was done away with in 2004 in Turkey, public opinion appears to be in favor of reinstating it in response to the attempted coup over the weekend. On July 16, 2016 the Prime Minister of Turkey, Binaldi Yildirim, declared that the coup was over and that the current government has maintained control. The government is currently trying to figure out what happened and will crack down on those involved.
On Saturday night, pilots from the Turkish military flew to Greece in order to retrieve the helicopter. One of the eight suspect’s lawyers said that, “The charge could not stand because they did not come to raise a problem to the country. They claim they did not take part in the coup, they were ordered, along with two other helicopters, to transfer the injured from the streets of Istanbul to a particular place.” The eight asylum seekers are married with children and they’re concerned for their families.