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Turkey wants “life sentence” for 8 Air Force officers who fled to Greece with a helicopter

The office of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor sent an extradition requisition to Turkish Justice Ministry on August 10th be sent to Greek authorities. The requisition refers to the extradition of eight members of the Turkish Air Force who escaped to Greece with a Black Hawk helicopter on July 16th 2016, less than twelve hours after the coup attempt. The helicopter was returned to Turkey on the same day, the eight asked for political asylum.

Turkey considers the eight as “coup plotters.”

According to daily Hurriyet, the eight-page requisition, staff pilot majors Gençay Böyük and Ahmet Güzel, staff pilot captains Süleyman Özkaynakçı, Ferudun Çoban, Abdullah Yetik and Uğur Uçan and non-commissioned officers Mesut Fırat and Bilal Kurugül are accused of violating the constitution with force and violence, attempted assassination of the president, crimes against the legislative body and the government and robbery.

“Eight suspects boarded a Skorsky S 70 Black Hawk model helicopter belonging to the Samandıra* Air Base and landed in a region near Riva of [Istanbul’s] Beykoz district. The suspects, who made phone calls for a while there, took off again on July 16 at 10:40 a.m. and landed in Greece, passing over [Istanbul’s] Sarıyer district and Çatalca district and Tekirdağ province,” the requisition read, noting that the armed soldiers had stolen the helicopter at night.

“It was determined that the device which is a part of a transponder and also publishes MOD C altitude information had been removed and all military codes and flight information records of the helicopter had been deleted after landing at the Dedeağaç [Alexandroupoli] region [in Greece], according to information obtained from command personnel as a result of examinations,” it added.

The requisition also noted the suspects faced jail terms ranging from five years to aggravated life sentences for their crimes.

A Greek court had earlier sentenced the soldiers to two-month suspended prison terms for illegal entry. They will remain in police custody in Greece until their asylum applications are heard.

A first ruling had been expected in early August but the soldiers were now expected to be summoned to a hearing on August 19th.

The outcome of the asylum request remains a puzzle given also the repeated calls by President Recep Tayip Erdogan to bring back the death penalty for the coup plotters.

Officially Turkey has not asked Greece for the extradition of the eight soldiers yet but it tries its best through the diplomatic channels.

*Samandira Air Base is a military airport of the Turkish Army located in Kartal district of Istanbul.

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  1. Don’t worry, the Turks will soon change a life sentence to a death sentence. If Greece colludes with this, that’s the end of any remains of credibility that Tsipras might think he has with the Greek people.

  2. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    For the future Greece will get very attractive for Europe’s homesick Turks who are scarred to travel to Turkey.