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Turkey submits third extradition request for the 8 Turkish soldiers

Turkey has filed one more extradition request claiming it had new evidence about the involvement of the 8 Turkish soldiers in the failed coup of July 2016.  The file was was given to Greek officials during the visit of Turkish Deputy Justice Minister Bilal Ucar in Athens on Tuesday. “We want extradition of the eight soldiers,” Ucar told reporters at the Turkish embassy in Athens. However, Greece reiterated that it will not extradite eight Turkish soldiers and repeated its offer  to try them in Athens. is still open, the justice minister said on Tuesday.

Details about the new evidence have not been given to the press. According to some unconfirmed information, Ankara claims it had evidence of their involvement in attempted murder.

The latest extradition request will force Athens to examine the request all through the legal way again through the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. However, it is hardly believed that the Supreme Court will decide different than in 2017, when it rejected the extradition on grounds of human rights protection and fair trial.

Greek Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis told reporters he had discussed the case of the eight soldiers with Uçar in Athens.

“Naturally, the case of the eight was discussed,” he said. Greece’s top court has rejected Turkey’s request for the soldiers’ extradition and, therefore, they would not be sent back, he said.

“The legal framework was presented from our side and it was hopefully fully understood by the Turkish side,” Kontonis said.

“… The options are clearly stated in the Greek penal code, so therefore it is at Turkey’s discretion to take the appropriate legal steps,” he added, referring to the possibility of a trial taking place in Athens.

Turkey says the soldiers are traitors and coup plotters and the issue has further strained relations between the two NATO allies who are at odds over issues ranging from jet flights over the Aegean Sea to ethnically split Cyprus.

 The eight men – three majors, three captains and two sergeant majors – flew to Greece with a stolen Black Hawk helicopter on July 16 in 2016, just hours after the coup. they requested asylum saying they feared for their lives.

Turkey has accused Athens of harboring coup plotters. Greece denies this and says its justice system is independent of its politicians.

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