Eight Turkish officers landed in Greece in July in the aftermath of an unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey. They flew by helicopter to the northern city of Alexandroupolis seeking asylum. Turkey has demanded their immediate extradition so that they can face charges of alleged treason as according to President Erdogan and Turkish prosecutors, they attempted to overthrow the democratic constitution of the country and declare martial law. There is no doubt that crimes were committed during the coup attempt which can be easily verified by merely watching the videos uploaded during the unsuccessful revolution. For example according to reports from the Turkish media seventeen police officers were killed in a helicopter attack on police special forces headquarters near Ankara. However, the alleged role of those eight officers in the coup can only be judged in a court of justice. All eight officers deny any role and involvement in the revolution. Moreover, Greek courts ruled that they don’t have sufficient evidence linking the eight men to an alleged attempt against President Erdogan’s life. In three separate rulings, lower courts approved the extradition of three officers who have appealed against that decision. On the other hand those appellate-level courts have denied the extradition request for the other five officers, a decision which was appealed against by the Head of the appeals prosecutors. It seems that Ankara’s officials were outraged by the developments in the case and some of them resorted to issuing territorial claims in the Aegean Sea and threatening to harden its stance in the divided island of Cyprus. The Arms Control Center is alerting the international arms control community and our NATO allies as serious security issues are at stake in the Greek-Turkish borders. It seems that Turkish officials including President Erdogan are trying to export their internal national crisis into Greece in an effort to force a peaceful and friendly neighboring country and NATO ally to extradite the Turkish military officers despite the fact that hard evidence exists that many other officers who were arrested in Turkey under the same charges have been tortured. The Greek court judges denied the extradition request accepting the case made by the officers that their safety will be compromised if they are returned to Turkey and that they will not receive a fair trial. The Arms Control Center fully agrees with the decision of the Greek courts and is looking forward to the final ruling of the Greek Supreme Court, which is currently considering an appeal by the Turkish government against the rulings of the appellate level courts. In the mean time we advise the Turkish Government to refrain from any hostile rhetoric which could further deteriorate the already strained relations between the two countries. We strongly advise Turkey to act prudently and as a true NATO ally because there are already voices in Greece which declare that any Turkish aggression and provocation might escalate to dangerous levels for both countries.

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