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Furious Turkey threatens Greece, court issues arrest warrant for 8 Turkish soldiers

Turkey is furious at the Greek Supreme Court ruling that blocked the extradition of the 8 Turkish officers. Within minutes, prosecutors in Istanbul issued arrest warrants against the eight, while the Turkish Foreign Ministry warned Greece of “impact of the decision on the bilateral ties” and accused Athens of “supporting terrorism” of all kinds.

“We protest this verdict that prevents these persons from standing before independent Turkish justice who have been actively participated in the coup attempt targeting at the democratic order in Turkey and the life of our president and that martyred 248 of our citizens and wounding 2193,” read the written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Jan 26.

This decision is another indication of Greece’s reluctance in fighting against terror organizations like the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) which target Turkey, it said.

The statement described the verdict as a violation of international legal norms and principles, accusing Greece of protecting the coup plotters.

“Our initiatives for the extradition and prosecution of these criminals will continue through all legal means,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, urging that “this politically-motivated decision will lead to a comprehensive evaluation on bilateral ties, cooperation on fight against terror and other regional and bilateral issues.”

Shortly after Supreme Court issued the verdict, a court in Istanbul  approved a request from prosecutors to issue an international arrest warrant against the fugitive former officers. Here is to note that this IAW would have a meaning only if the 8 leave Greece.

Turkish news agency Dogan reported that Ankara was about to prepare a new extradition request that will be sent to Athens.

Turkish media quoted some nationalists lawyers who attacked Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras saying “He was saying other things about the extradition” and warned that the issue is not over.

Some members of the Istanbul Bar Association even claimed that the Greek Minister of Justice will decide in favor of the extradition of the 8 soldiers. “Legally the issue is over, but politically it is not. The last word lies in the Greek Justice Ministry.”

But as the usual, the Turkish and the Greek justice and law environments lay worlds apart. The Greek Justice Minister could only intervene if the supreme court would rule in favor of the extradition.

Turkish authorities have blamed US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen for the coup attempt and responded with a vast crackdown to clean state institutions and the army of his followers.

Earlier on Thursday, Greece’s Supreme Court rejected Ankara’s request for the extradition of the 8 Turkish officers. The court ruled saying that the officers would not receive a fair trial in Turkey and ordered their release. Their asylum request in still pending although it was rejected last summer on first instance.

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One comment

  1. The Supreme Court made a correct judgement in line with EU and international law. There is nothing more to be said, other than that Turkey thinks it can threaten and manipulate Greece into putting politics above the law.