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Iran Press TV

Greek court OK's extradition of three Turkish 'coup' officers

Iran Press TV

Tue Dec 6, 2016 4:54PM

A Greek court has ruled that three Turkish army officers accused of playing a role in a failed July coup against the administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be extradited to Turkey.

According to a judicial source, the Athens appeals court said that the three should be sent back for "attempting to topple the regime" of President Erdogan.

The court, however, noted that it had not found conclusive evidence linking the officers to an attack on Erdogan.

The ruling came a day after the same court rejected the extradition of another three Turkish military officers.

The court said in its Monday ruling that Turkish authorities had not provided sufficient evidence over the officers' involvement in the coup attempt of July 15, and that their personal safety was in danger at home.

That decision outraged the Ankara government, which has launched a wide-ranging crackdown since the attempted putsch. Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said on Monday that "Greece is in the NATO alliance with Turkey and is a NATO ally. Our expectation is that the Greek government make every effort to return" those individuals to Turkey.

The Geek court is expected to decide the fate of the remaining two officers on Thursday. Any final decision to extradite rests with the Greek Minister of Justice Stavros Kontonis.

The case is awkward for Greece, which depends on Turkey to stem the flow of thousands of refugees to its shores.

The Turkish government has demanded the extradition of two Turkish commanders, four captains and two sergeants who had requested asylum in Greece following the coup attempt.

Ankara says the eight will face prosecution if they return. The officers deny any involvement in the coup attempt, saying they escaped to Greece out of fear.

Ankara has arrested more than 37,000 people as part of the crackdown following the coup. Turkey accuses US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of masterminding the coup. Tens of thousands have also been dismissed or suspended from their positions in the military and public institutions.

More than 100,000 people have also been dismissed or suspended from their jobs on similar charges.

The opposition has fiercely criticized the widening crackdown, with top figures in the Republican People's Party (CHP) accusing the government of capitalizing on the failed coup to stifle dissent.

Western governments and major rights campaigners have also censured the crackdown, saying Ankara has acted beyond the law in its hunt for coup plotters.

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