ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish officials on Wednesday lashed out a barrage of condemnation on Greece after a top court confirmed the asylum application by one of the eight Turkish soldiers who fled the country aboard a Black Hawk helicopter in the immediate wake of the botched 2016 coup attempt to topple the Erdogan administration.
“The Greek Council of State has put its signature to yet another scandalous decision by rejecting the objection of the Greek Government to the decision granting asylum to Suleyman Ozkaynakci, one of the culprits of the July 15 treacherous coup attempt,” a press release by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
The Council is Greece’s supreme judicial authority.
It deemed Ankara’s allegations against Ozkaynakci that he participated in the attempted coup insufficient, overruling a government appeal by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been improving ties, despite outstanding disputes between the two countries.
The soldiers’ lawyers have cited widespread torture and unfair trials in Turkey to block any extradition from the southeastern European nation.
“By rejecting the extradition of the putschist traitors, Greece has prepared the ground for such decisions, which offends the conscience of the Turkish nation,” Turkey said.
Erdogan’s chief advisor Ibrahim Kalin accused Greek judiciary of “violating international agreements and acknowledging that Greece was a safe haven for terrorists.”
Kalin invited the European Union to reject and condemn the ruling.
Similar reactions came from Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul, who recently faced US sanctions for the continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, the Defense Ministry, and Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“Crystal clear that Greek judiciary sided with Turkey’s enemies and coup plotters with this decree. This is much more serious and shameful than supporting terrorism,” AKP’s spokesperson wrote on Twitter.
In response, Greek opposition party New Democracy’s shadow Foreign Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos said there was no necessity “to poison Greco-Turkish ties with such reactions.”
“Mr. Celik and the Turkish side, in general, should finally understand that institutions in Greece follow the fundamental democratic principles,” Koumoutsakos tweeted.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany