Greece suspends asylum for Turkish 'coup' officer

Greece suspends asylum for Turkish 'coup' officer
A Greek court has suspended asylum status for a Turkish officer involved in Turkey's failed military coup, saying the decision was in the public interest.
2 min read
08 January, 2018
The officer seeking asylum in Greece was involved in the failed coup attempt (Getty)
A Greek court suspended Monday the asylum status granted to a Turkish military helicopter co-pilot who fled the country following last year's failed coup, days after Ankara criticised the decision.

The Athens Administrative Court of Appeal said it had "temporarily suspended the asylum for reasons of public interest" following an appeal by the Greek government.

The co-pilot - who flew seven other Turkish military officers to Greece the day after the failed coup in July 2016 - was granted asylum at the end of December after Greek authorities ruled that his human rights would be at risk.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry complained at the time that the ruling was "politically motivated" and "once again reveals that Greece is a country that protects and embraces plotters".

The Greek government said it requested the status was suspended because it "endangered diplomatic relations" with Turkey.

The case is now scheduled for a hearing on February 15.

A ruling on the seven other military officers is due to be made in the coming weeks.

"This is an important decision, we welcome it with satisfaction," Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.

He added that the extradition of the "eight putschists" would have a positive impact on relations between the two countries.

However, the Greek government has repeatedly supported a ruling by the Greek Supreme Court last January which blocked the extradition of the group, saying that they would not have a fair trial in Turkey.

More than 140,000 people including judges, lawyers, journalists and academics have been sacked or suspended in Turkey since the failed coup, while some 55,000 people have been arrested over suspected links to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey claims Gulen ordered the attempted coup, something he denies.