Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Bekir Bozdag, today demanded that Greece extradite all eight officers whom the Istanbul prosecutor’s office has charged with participation in the failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to a tweet posted today by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency, Bozdag declares that Ankara expects extradition of the eight “as soon as possible”.
The remarks came after a cabinet meeting in Ankara, and they display public contempt for the Greek judicial system, as the Supreme Court (Areios Pagos), has irrevocably barred extradition of the officers to Turkey, due to the fact that the authoritarian regime there has effectively suspended the rule of law – the state of emergency imposed after the abortive coup was just today extended for the sixth time – and because they cannot be guaranteed a fair trial, or offer even fundamental protection of human rights, in Turkey.
Some viewed the demand also as an indirect rejection of Greek Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis’ proposal that the eight officers could be tried in Greece, if Ankara were to submit such a request.
In an apparent state of panic in the face of Turkish threats, the Greek government, through Migration Minister Nikos Mouzalas, appealed the ruling of an appellate asylum committee granting one of the officer’s political asylum in Greece.
The move was roundly criticised as an unprecedented indifference to the rule of law and the officers’ right to a fair trial, It was lambasted by legal scholars, authors, opposition parties, and journalists.
An Athens Appellate Court today temporarily revoked the officer’s asylum status, essentially honouring the government’s request for a temporary injunction, pending a trial scheduled for 15 February, citing issues of “public interest”.
Bozdag welcomed that ruling in briefing journalists today in Ankara of a new extension of the country’s state of emergency. «The suspension is an important decision of course, we welcome this,» Bozdag said, according to a report by Anadolu Ajansi.
The asylum committee has yet to rule on the applications of the remaining seven officers.
The court of last resort for all eight is Greece’s Council of State.