Greece Fears Wave of Political Asylum Seekers from Turkey



al1-735x459The Greek army across the border with Turkey is on high alert after recent developments in the neighboring country, following the failed coup and the Turkish government’s punitive tendencies.

After the coup attempt on July 15, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is considering the reinstatement of the death penalty in order to punish the perpetrators. At the same time, military personnel who participated in the coup have been tortured and humiliated, while dozens of thousands of army people, civil servants and academics have been fired from their jobs.

Analysts predict the possibility of a spillover of Turks entering Greece who are considered political opponents of Erdogan.

The Greek government is pressed by Turkey to extradite the eight Turkish military men who fled to Greece after the coup and applied for political asylum. The Turkish military men, considered as fugitives by Turkish officials, claim that they will be killed or tortured if they return to their homeland.

Athens has to strike a delicate balance between Turkish demands and international laws on human rights. Turkish authorities have hinted that bilateral relations might go sour if Athens does not heed to the extradition demand.

The arrests of several political opponents of Erdogan has the added concern that diplomats, military officials, businessmen, academics and ordinary citizens could seek refuge in Greece, which would undoubtedly fuel further tension.

Athens is keeping open lines of communication with NATO allies and Ankara waiting for further developments in the neighboring country.


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