Greece takes 'strict measures' to protect soldiers wanted for attempted coup against Turkey's Erdogan

Greece takes 'strict measures' to protect soldiers wanted for attempted coup against Turkey's Erdogan
Eight Turkish soldiers that Ankara wants extradited over coup charges have been placed under 24/7 armed guard.
2 min read
11 June, 2018
Erdogan has repeatedly requested the accused coup plotters to be extradited [Getty]
Eight Turkish soldiers Ankara accuses of being involved in the 2016 failed coup have been protected under armed guard in Greece.

Athens has put in place the "greatest possible" measures to protect the commandos, The Guardian reported, for fear the accused would not have a fair trial at home.

Greece's deputy defence minister, Fotis Kouvelis, told The Guardian: "We are enforcing the greatest possible measures to secure their safety in a place which for obvious reasons will remain unknown.

"We haven't forgotten what happened in our region a few months ago," he added, referring to the five teachers and a doctor, all Turkish nationals and alleged Gulenists, who were flown back to Turkey from Kosovo in a covert joint operation by Turkish intelligence and the Kosovo interior ministry.

Erdogan accuses Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the failed coup and leading a terror group called the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO), charges he denies.

A Greek court refused to extradite the men, who fled the day after the coup, despite Turkey's orders.

They were released from detention last week when the 18-month period they were legally allowed to be held in custody expired. 

Media reports on Sunday suggested the soldiers were at risk of being abducted and assassinated. The daily Athens newspaper Ta Nea reported that 80 police officers, including snipers, had been seconded to protect the Turks in an undisclosed location.

An angry President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week suspended a migrant readmission deal after tensions flared between the NATO allies.