Turkey issued a formal request to Greece on Tuesday for the extradition of the eight Turkish military officials who fled in a helicopter following the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey. The file, prepared by the Turkish Justice Ministry, calls for the officers’ return to face charges in Turkey that include breaching the Constitution through use of force, plotting to kill Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as committing crimes against the Parliament and government.
The Justice Ministry’s Directorate-General for Law and External Relations prepared the file under an extradition agreement between Turkey and Greece. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, judicial sources confirmed the request for extradition of the six pilots and two engineers who arrived in Greece aboard a Turkish military helicopter. These men have already been sentenced to two months in jail for illegally entering Greece.
The eight officers deny involvement in the coup and have already lodged an application for political asylum as they fear for their safety in the aftermath of the purged coup that the Turkish government claims was instigated by followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
In Turkey, some 35,000 people have been questioned over the coup, and there have been more than 17,000 formal arrests of soldiers, police officers, judges, academics and journalists. Tens of thousands of people have been suspended from their jobs in a number of sectors such as the judiciary, media, education, health, government etc. or have been sacked due to suspected links to Gulen. The police have launched raids on 44 companies, including a well-known supermarket chain, suspected of providing support for Gulen’s movement and there were warrants for the detention of 120 company executives.