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Greece’s top court releases one of 8 Turkish soldiers “under strict restrictions”

Greece’s top court, the Council of State, released one out of eight Turkish soldiers who had fled to Greece with a stolen helicopter after the failed coup in summer 2016. The soldier and helicopter co-pilot Süleyman Özkaynakçı, has been set free under strict restrictions. The man had previously applied for asylum fearing for his life. Turkey has submitted three extradition requests for the 8 Turkish soldiers.

The CoS imposed severe restrictions on the movements of Özkaynakçı, while he waits for a decision on his asylum application. He was granted asylum but it was temporary suspended under intervention of Migration Minister.

The Council of State ruled that the officer will remain at an undisclosed address, must appear daily at a local police station and cannot obtain travel documents until his asylum application is determined in May.

The CoS decision is irrevocable.

Courts had initially granted him asylum but suspended the decision following a Greek government appeal.

Justice Minister, Stavros Kontonis, said earlier this week that the 8 Turkish soldiers will have to be set free in May when the maximum detention of 18 months expires. They will go free after this period, the minister added.

The Turkish press describes the Council of State decision as a “scandal in Greek Justice.”

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