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Hijacked Helicopter returned to Turkey, Greece raises charges against 8 military officers

Turkish pilots arrived in Greece and flew the military Black Hawk helicopter back to Turkey on Saturday night, while the 8 passengers, the alleged Coup supporters who fled into the neighboring country and sought political asylum, were taken before the prosecutor on Sunday morning.

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The three majors, the captains and two sergeants of the Turkish Air Force were confronted with charges of “illegally entering Greece”. Seven of them have been accused of “instigate the illegal entrance” while the eight person, the pilot, of “executing the illegal entrance.”

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The initial charge of “endangering friendly relations of the Greek state with a third state and setting Greek people’s lives in a danger ” was dropped.

They will appear before a court in Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece, on Monday.

Photo published for Για παράνομη είσοδο στην Ελλάδα κατηγορούνται οι 8 Τούρκοι στρατιωτικοί - Newsorama

The eight officers are seeking political asylum in Greece fearing for their lives if sent back to Turkey.

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While the death penalty was abolished in 2004, incited by ruling Erdogan’s AKP, a major part of the public seems to favor the re-activation of the death penalty and thus to be applied against the initiators and supporters of the Coup attempt on Friday night.

On Saturday and while addressing the public in Istanbul, President Erdogan said “so it be” to the crowd changing “We want execution”.

According Lia Marinaki, one of the soldiers’ three lawyers, told media that “they were following orders to transport injured personnel with the four helicopters they were operating.”  At some point, three of the helicopters were damaged by police forces shots and they decided to get on board on the one helicopter that was not harmed. “They first landed the helicopter in a forest area in Turkey, near the borders with Greece. There, they discussed about their next steps and they decided to come to Greece.”

Speaking to Greek and Turkish media, Marinaki said that they were informed about the coup when they spoke on the phone with their families. The lawyer added that the 8 wished to return to Turkey and reunite with their families but they were afraid to do so as they are accused of being coup supporters and that’s why they asked for political asylum in Greece.”

It is certain that they want to return to Turkey but they afraid execution,” the lawyer said adding that the asylum procedure would last up to one year.

According to KTG information, all 8 officers are below 40 years old.

The 8 are said to belong to a military unit in Istanbul.

On political level, Ankara wants to see the 8 back to Turkey as soon as possible and insists that they be extradited. Before any investigation, Turkey has already brand-marked them as “traitors”.

On Saturday, just a couple of hours after the helicopter had landed in Greece, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu tweeted that Turkey had “requested the immediate surrender of the eight traitor soldiers who fled to Greece with a helicopter.”

He later claimed that a colonel was the highest-ranking officer of the eight soldiers.

With the same request of extradition, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday.

The Greek PM told him that the asylum procedure would be quick but with “absolute respect to international law and human rights.”

Greece has to apply the Geneva Convention that forbids extradition into countries with the death penalty. In addition Greece and Turkey have bilateral agreement on extradition.

Turkish FM assured his Greek counterpart that there is no death penalty in Turkey.

Greek deputy Defense Minister Giorgos Vitsas told media that Turkey’s accusations against the 8 had a “strong point. They are accused for  violation of constitutional legality and attempt to interrupt democracy.”

Of course, if the asylum procedure would need one year, during this time the Greek authorities would know whether Turkey has legislated to reactivate the death penalty and act accordingly.

On diplomatic level it would be wiser to return the 8 to Turkey. But all of my friends I asked about they said “Greece should not extradite them to Turkey.” Because they do not believe that they will have a fair trial and because they suspect that Turkey raised accusations against them without investigation about their role in the coup attempt, whether they were organizers or just “foot soldiers following orders.”

More details in Turkish military helicopter with alleged Coup-officers lands in Greece.

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5 comments

  1. Whatever happens next – rest assured that the German people will stand firmly with the Greeks whatever it takes. Never ever again may a authoritarian democratically elected dictator dictate the politics of an EU country.

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      Kidding? Will you send Internationalist Brigades or what? Germoney is so much loving herself that she has no picture of reality, the 12 German victims bombed to death in Istanbull by ISIS-Erdogun are out of public eye, and the attack against a soccer-stadium full of German fans in Paris is seen as attack against France not against Germany. The only thing every coward is doing is getting fast war criminals like Hitler in Guernica, sending airborne and bombing militias that don’t even have any air-plane to defend against the death from the sky – Vietcong also had never any helicopter or plane, so this must be a fascist tradition – does Merkel gets imprisoned for mass-murderering 142 civilians in Kunduz or German soldiers for printing t-shirts against fuel-theft and open up their beers as the burnt flesh reminded them of BBQ-time?
      Do your Tornados in Incirlek will attack Ankara if Turkish troops invade Greece for getting their police-men/soldiers back? NO

  2. costa sakellariou

    sending them back would be the ‘european’ thing to do, as europe will continue to do business with erdogan’s turkey as if nothing is wrong…

    the honorable thing to do would be to not send people to their certain death…

    let’s see what tsipras decides

  3. Disgusting and illegal. Tsipras is showing his lack of commitment to anything left (or legal) and his sole interest is in sucking up to powerful interests so that he can remain in power. Over a country that has the status of a negro slave on a sugar plantation.

  4. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Do soldiers have space in their war-machines left to stuff clothes to change while doing their job? Some media still report about them as policemen… summer sales stuff paid by government is good for more Ankara paranoia …