Turkish envoy urges swift return of coup asylum seekers from Greece
Failure to return the officers “will not help” ties, Turkish ambassador Kerim Uras told reporters in Athens.
“I hope we will manage to swiftly go through the phases of due process and manage to return these terrorist elements so that they will face justice,” Uras said.
The eight men, who arrived by military helicopter on Saturday after sending a distress signal to authorities at the airport in the northern city of Alexandroupolis, are to face trial for illegal entry on Thursday.
“I think it was a mistake to accept them in the first place,” the ambassador said, arguing that Greek authorities could have asked the helicopter to land near a Turkish facility.
They claim to have been fled after being fired upon by police. To block their deportation to Turkey, they have applied for asylum in Greece.
Uras bristled at the suggestion that the officers would not be treated fairly at home. “We take offence for such reporting because needless to say, they will face a fair trial. It will be totally transparent,” he said.
Turkish authorities have detained over 7,500 people so far in a massive legal crackdown, and some suspects were paraded before the media and shown being subjected to rough treatment.
Greek daily Ethnos on Tuesday splashed a front-page picture of dozens of semi-naked men, their hands tied behind their back, held in what appears to be a gynnasium. “West blasts Erdogan pogrom,” it said.
Historic foes, Greece and Turkey both became members of NATO in 1952 and ties have improved drastically in recent years although there are irritants such as airspace and maritime border disputes.
Greece last year also faulted Turkey for allowing thousands of mainly Syrian refugees and migrants to sail to its shores, before an EU deal stemming the flow came into force in March.