Greece grants asylum to another Turkish officer alleged to be involved in coup

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Turkish officers are escorted by Greek special police forces as they leave the Greek Supreme Court in Athens, after a hearing concerning a possible extradition of the officers over July's failed coup in Turkey, on January 23, 2017 in Athens. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS

Greece’s asylum commission has granted asylum to another of eight Turkish officers who fled to Greece in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.

This is the second officer out of the eight to be granted political asylum by Greece.

Last December, Greece’s asylum commission approved the asylum request of Turkish military officer Süleyman Özkaynakçı, but the Greek government later raised objections. Özkaynakçı was briefly released after being granted asylum but was detained again in light of the government’s objections.

Ruling on the objection, the Greek Council of State on April 19 ordered his release under strict supervision until the applications of all eight Turkish military members are processed.

The council is expected to soon issue final verdicts on the asylum requests of all eight Turkish soldiers.

Under Greek law, the maximum detention period is 18 months, which will expire at the end of May for the all the suspects.

The second military officer who has been granted asylum could also be released from detention like Özkaynakçı.

The eight men, three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors, flew by helicopter to northern Greece a day after the failed coup and sought asylum, saying they feared for their lives if they remained in Turkey.

The incident has strained relations between Turkey and Greece, with Turkey accusing Greece of protecting coup plotters.

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