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    July 21, 2016

    Greek asylum plea of 8 Turkish pilots causes a "diplomatic thriller"

    "Coup in Turkey: Diplomatic Thriller as 8 seek asylum in Greece: 'They fear for their lives.'" [The picture is from], July 19, 2016
    Translated from Greek by Tom Winter, July 21, 2016

    Though it is generally difficult to refuse extradition for seditionists, the strength of the asylum request is that the deputy leader of the Turkish parliament promised to propose a reintroduction of the death penalty so the insurrectionists can be executed. Of course, extradition to death-penalty countries is counter to international law... --tr

    The eight Turkish soldiers who participated in the coup to overthrow Erdogan and escaped to Greece by helicopter Saturday morning were taken to the Asylum Commission.

    The putschists told the Asylum Commission that they fear for the death penalty. They have been fingerprinted and have completed their asylum applications.

    According to information from the lawyers, once they gave fingerprints, the eight justified the request for political asylum in Greece by claiming that they fear for the reintroduction of the death penalty in Turkey.

    Diplomatic background

    While the eight Turkish soldiers who have requested political asylum have been granted time to defend against charges lodged against them for illegal entry into Greece, an intense diplomatic background is underway about their fortunes.

    Already Saturday night in the first Tsipras-Erdogan call, the Turkish president summarily asked for their return to Turkey.

    The request was repeated by Prime Minister Yildirim to Mr. Tsipras and by Foreign Minister Cavusoglu to Niko Kotzia. The Prime Minister's response was the same, that they will follow all the legal procedures of Greek and international law. However, Mr. Kotzia yesterday in statements yesterday hinted that their fate has was settled even before the trial due to their participation in the coup, which the eight deny, insisting that they simply were evacuating the wounded. 

    With the known idea of respect for rights prevailing in the Erdogan regime, it is clear that they are asking the Greek government to interfere so they will be turned over.

    Among the thousands of arrests that have been made, eight low-grade soldiers constitute a small number, but it is realized that the Turkish government wanted, with this insistence from day one, to prevent exodus from the country for political asylum.

    The Misdemeanors Prosecutor Alexandroupolis has entered the illegal entry charges in the country, charges of inciting illegal flight on the seven defendants and executing illegal flight to the Greek space on the pilot of the helicopter.

    In flagrante delicto, they requested and received a three-day postponement of the hearing of their case. Both the accused and their lawyers expressed fears that if they were turned over, it will be endangering their lives since Erdogan has anticipated the reintroduction of the death penalty.

    According to information, procedures have so far been developed based on all the provisions of international treaties and applicable law.

    Based on this, if precedents about about handing over officers to Turkey, or their deportation, or a decision on asylum requests, it could take a few weeks, up to one and a half months.

    However the possibility of accelerating the process can not be excluded as the Greek government has been recently wanting engagement with the Erdogan regime. On the other hand there is also the international scene: both the EU and the US have warned Erdogan not to proceed with restoration of the death penalty. The possibility of the Turkish president implementing his threat will complicate things for the fate of the eight military, since under international law, deportation to a country using the death penalty is not allowed.

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