In a briefing on Friday for the first anniversary of the failed coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, the Turkish Ambassador in Athens Yaşar Halit Çevik said Ankara still expected Greek authorities to extradite the eight Turkish officers that had sought asylum in Greece.
“We have been informed that this is a decision for justice but afterward we expect that we will have an answer from the Greek State,” he said in response to questions.
The ambassador restricted the presentation to the events of the coup, presenting a video and listing the names of those killed, while he refused to take questions on other issues. According to Cevik, the coup had claimed 250 lives, while a further 1,500 were injured. He also cited the video and these figures when asked to respond to a report by the Stockholm Centre for Freedom claiming that the coup attempt had actually been staged by Turkey’s president.
When the ambassador was asked about the prosecution of journalists, he said that they had to be tried according to the law if they have committed crimes, whether they are journalists or not.
Speaking to both Greek and foreign correspondents, Cevik said the attempted coup was led exclusively by “Fethullah Gulen’s terrorist organisation FETO” and by Turkish military officers, using this opportunity to refer to those that had fled to Greece.
“Eight putschists fled to Greece in a helicopter on the morning of July 16. Greece condemned the attempted coup, expressed its solidarity and said that the putschists were not wanted in Greece,” he said, noting Turkey’s appreciation for Greece’s stance.
Subsequently, however, these eight officers were not extradited to Turkey and two more soldiers that took part in the coup were later added to their numbers, he added.
“With the refusal of extradition, those that took part in the coup and killed members of the military and citizens and threatened the life of the Turkish president are being prevented from facing justice,” he said, noting that impunity for serious crimes cannot be accepted in a state of law.
“We therefore await that neighbouring Greece, which has suffered from coups in the past, will hand them over to us to be tried,” he said.