Fate of Turkish troops who fled to Greece to be decided this week

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 23, 2017 6:12 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on Thursday on whether or not to extradite eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece in a helicopter after a failed military coup in July, the Athens News Agency reported.

Turkey alleges the men were involved in the July 15 coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan and has demanded their swift extradition.

The men, who deny the accusations and have requested asylum in Greece, say their lives would be in danger at home where authorities are purging large numbers of people from the armed forces and other state institutions.

They appeared in court on Monday but the ruling was postponed to Thursday.

The case has exposed often tense relations between Athens and Ankara, NATO allies at odds over issues from Cyprus to islets and air rights over the Aegean.

It was taken to Greece's top court after previous decisions - to extradite five and not extradite three - were contested.

Should the Supreme Court rule the soldiers must be extradited, their asylum applications will be overridden.

If it rules against extradition, the soldiers will await decisions on their asylum requests in Greece which are not expected for months.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; editing by Ralph Boulton)