ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s foreign ministry said Greece was protecting coup plotters and failing in the fight against terrorism after the Greek Supreme Court ruled on Thursday against the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers wanted over an attempted putsch.
The Greek ruling appears politically motivated, is against international law, and breaches the rights of the victims of the July 15 coup attempt, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement. It said Turkey would continue efforts to ensure the soldiers’ extradition and prosecution.
“We protest this decision which prevents these individuals who have threatened the life of our president and took an active role in a coup attempt that killed 248 of our citizens ... from appearing in front of Turkish judiciary,” the statement said.
“Once again Greece, an ally and a neighbour, has failed to fulfill the basics of the fight against terrorism,” it said, accusing Athens of also harbouring far-leftist and Kurdish militant groups that have carried out attacks in Turkey.
The men — three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors — landed a helicopter in northern Greece on July 16 and sought political asylum saying they feared for their lives in Turkey. They deny a role in the attempt to oust President Tayyip Erdogan, which led to a purge of the military and civil service.
They have been accused in Turkey of attempting to abrogate the constitution and dissolve parliament, seizing a helicopter using violence, and of attempting to assassinate Erdogan.
Turkey has demanded Greece extradite them and has branded them traitors, in a case which has highlighted the sometimes strained relations between the two neighbours and NATO allies.
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall