World Bulletin / News Desk
The Greece court's decision not to extradite eight fugitive ex-soldiers linked to the July 15 defeated coup will damage Turkish-Greek relations, Turkey's justice minister said Monday.
Speaking live to news channel 24, Bekir Bozdag criticized the Greek ruling, describing it as unjust and political.
Last week, Greece’s Supreme Court decided to not extradite any of the eight former Turkish soldiers allegedly involved in the July coup attempt.
“This step will really hurt relations between Turkey and Greece. Officials of both countries see this closely,” Bozdag said.
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.
The ex-soldiers have been fighting extradition since they arrived in Greece and claimed asylum on July 16.
Interpol has also been asked to issue international arrest warrants for the eight former soldiers by Turkey’s Justice Ministry.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office 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.