Greece frees all Turkish soldiers seeking asylum after coup attempt, lawyer says

ATHENS, GREECE - MARCH 16: Turkish fugitive soldiers, allegedly participating in Turkey's defeated 15 July coup and fled to Greece, are being brought to the police headquarters following their hearing after Turkey submitted extradition request at the Athens Supreme Court in Athens, Greece on March 16, 2018. Greece rejected extradition of terrorist to Turkey for the third time. Ayhan Mehmet / Anadolu Agency

Omiros Zelios, a lawyer representing eight former Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece seeking asylum on the night of a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, said on Monday that all his clients were released from police custody last week, according to AP.

They are now living in a secret location under heavy police protection.

The soldiers had been taken into police custody immediately after they arrived in Greece.

The Greek Council of State on May 23 approved Süleyman Özkaynakçı’s application after considering an objection lodged by the Greek government to a decision to grant asylum to the ex-soldier in December 2017.

The decision has created tension between Greece and Turkey.

“It has been thereby reaffirmed by the international community that Greece is a country, which protects and shelters the putschists. We strongly condemn this decision that deeply offends the conscience of the Turkish nation,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said after the Özkaynakçı decision.

The seven other former soldiers’ cases were pending.

According to Greek law, the maximum detention period is 18 months, which ended at the end of May.

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  1. What does it tell us that Greece can comply with a legal detention period of 18 months but in Turkey pre-trial detention can drag on for years – and will be extended for decades if AKP stays on its present road.

  2. State arbitrariness in the judiciary was a feature in Turkey even before July 15, 2016 and is certainly a feature now. Trials, even when they do start, can extend over years, with many hearings, though not all people are jailed during that time. A lot of people are walking around outside prison with court cases against them.