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Turkey lashes out at Greece, as all 8 Turkish servicemen are set free

The last four Turkish servicemen of the eight who fled to Greece after the foiled coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 have been released from custody. Monday afternoon, they left the police station at the Olympic Village where they were being held, as the 18 months of maximum detention expired.

All eight Turkish nationals will be hosted at an undisclosed residence in the greater Athens area and under tight security, amid fears of their possible abduction by Turkish intelligence units.

One of the eight, the copilot of the helicopter with which they came to Greece,  has already been granted political asylum by the country’s highest administrative court, which rejected the latest motion by the Tsipras government to block the request.

When the court ruling is formally published, the copilot will be granted travel documents for Europe. The same decision will be extended to the rest, pending the decisions of the Asylum Committee, which needs to approve their individual requests.

Most judicial analysts in the country believe that the remaining seven will also be granted political asylum, a development that would allow for their legal departure from Greece to a third country.

Their lawyers said last month, that all 8 plan to leave Greece in order to ease pressure by Ankara that had submitted three extradition requests – all turned down fearing the Turkish servicemen will not have a fair trial in Tukey.

The Turkish government and media lashed out at Greece upon the development and the government spokesman accused Greece for one more time that it is protecting terrorists.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that “Greece protects and supports coup plotters and Gulenists” and added “we thought Tsipras’ promise was the word of a man.”

Turkish officials had claimed that Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, had promised Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to hand over the 8 servicemen in the first weeks of the incident.

The claim was neither confirmed nor dismissed by the Greek government that found out there was a legal way to deal with the issue.

Meanwhile, the two Greek soldiers remain in Turkish custody for the 96th day. No charges have been pressed, so far.

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