World Bulletin / News Desk
Defense Minister Fikri Isik has slammed the Greek court’s decision to not extradite eight fugitive former Turkish soldiers linked to the July 15 defeated coup.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the handover of a submarine rescue ship to the Turkish Naval Forces Command in Istanbul Saturday, Fikri Isik said: "This is not a judgment, it is not a decision that dispenses justice."
He called Thursday’s ruling of the Greek Supreme Court case a “political decision" and a "complete disappointment".
"Our urgent expectation from Greece is that this wrong and unjust decision be corrected as soon as possible and those eight people are returned to Turkey," he said.
Isik also said: "Greece has also revealed how wrong it is in the fight against terrorism," underlining that Turkey would continue to follow the case.
The ex-soldiers -- Ahmet Guzel, Gencay Boyuk, Feridun Coban, Abdullah Yetik, Ugur Ucan, Suleyman Ozkaynakci, Mesut Firatand, Bilal Kurugul -- fled to Greece in a stolen Black Hawk helicopter a few hours after the July 15, 2016, coup bid was defeated in Turkey. The men -- two majors, four captains and two sergeants -- were dismissed from the military after they fled.
Turkey sent a second extradition request to Greece on Friday calling for the repatriation of the soldiers, a Justice Ministry official said.
The ex-soldiers have been fighting extradition since they arrived in Greece and claimed asylum on July 16.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, did not explain how a second request would help nullify the Greek court’s decision.
Interpol has also been asked to issue international arrest warrants for the eight, the official said.
Thursday’s ruling was immediately met by protests from the Turkish Foreign Ministry which said the fugitives had “played an active role in the coup attempt targeting the democratic order in Turkey, killing our 248 citizens and security forces, injuring 2,193 citizens and making an attempt on our president’s life.”
A court in Istanbul later issued arrest warrants in absentia against the soldiers, a judicial official said.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has said four of the soldiers spoke by telephone on the night of the failed coup to two members of the commando squad that tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Greek authorities were told of the link, prosecutors said.