3 more Turkish soldiers denied asylum in Greece

A Greek police officer escorts a Turkish officer who fled to Greece by helicopter after last week's failed coup, as he leaves the courthouse of Alexandroupoli, near the Greek-Turkish border, on July 21, 2016. A Greek court on July 21 sentenced eight Turkish military officers who fled last week's failed coup to suspended two-month prison terms, an AFP reporter said. The officers, sought by Turkey to face a military trial at home, have requested asylum in Greece and will remain in police custody until their cases on that issue are heard early in August. / AFP PHOTO / SAKIS MITROLIDIS

The requests for asylum of seven Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece following a failed coup on July 15 in Turkey have been denied by the Greek government, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The seven soldiers were part of a group of eight who flew a military helicopter to Greece and sought refuge there after the thwarting of the coup attempt.

The soldiers deny any part in the putsch as alleged by Turkey.

Three members of the group had previously been denied asylum, while four of them were notified on Tuesday that their requests had been rejected. One soldier has filed an appeal, while the fate of the eighth man is currently unknown.

Lawyer Stavroula Tomara issued a statement claiming that the decisions were politically motivated and that the soldiers fear for their lives if returned to Turkey.

“We came to Greece to save our lives, not be pawns of foreign policy and bilateral agreements. We have not been labelled terrorists even in our own country,” their statement said, according to Reuters.

Greek authorities had previously said the soldiers failed to furnish sufficient evidence proving that they were not involved in the abortive coup.

Turkey has formally sought the extradition of the eight, describing them as “traitors.”

The eight military members, comprising three majors, three captains and two sergeants-major, have been kept in custody while the requests for asylum were being evaluated.

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