Greece has granted political asylum to one of the eight Turkish officers who fled to Alexandroupolis with a Black Hawk helicopter one day after the failed coup in July 2016. The asylum was granted to the co-pilot of the helicopter. He was set free.
In the reasoning of the decision, authorities said that there was no evidence whatsoever proving that the Turkish officer was involved in the coup attempt and that Turkey was seeking his extradition for “political reasons.”
The Asylum Committee expressed concern that the officer would not have “a fair trial” in the neighboring country.
At the same time, the decision describes the after coup situation in Turkey as “unacceptable” in terms of human rights and according to the standards of international treaties, the Council of Europe, Amnesty International and other institutions.
The Turkish officer reportedly welcomed the decision “with tears in his eyes” and kept crying while he was released.
He was immediately released from the police station of Olympic Village were he was detained awaiting the decision on his pending asylum request.
So far, his name has not been revealed.
The rest of the Turkish officers remain in detention awaiting the decision on their asylum requests.
Several Greek courts have rejected Turkey’s repeated requests for the extradition of the 8 Turkish soldiers. The issue has triggered tension between the two countries, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has set the matter on the agenda during his visit in Athens beginning of the month. In vain.