“The appeal that I filed was because I would like to be certain that my country does not give asylum to coup plotters,” said Greece’s Deputy Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas on Tuesday.
In an interview on Skai television aired late on Tuesday night, the deputy minister spoke about the appeal he filed against a judicial committee decision to grant asylum to one of the eight Turkish army officers who landed in Alexandroupolis in a helicopter, the day after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, in July 2016.
Greece’s Supreme Court has ruled that the eight military officers should not be extradited to Turkey on the grounds that they will not receive a fair trial and will possibly be tortured. Turkey, on the other hand, demands their extradition on the grounds that they are traitors who tried to violently overthrow Ankara’s government.
The deputy minister said that he does not state that the eight men were indeed coup plotters, but he would have wanted a final court decision that would say whether they participated in the coup or not.
“A decision was taken to grant asylum to one officer. We have appealed this judgment under the rule of law. There were 1,500 decisions, but we did not appeal. What’s the difference with this one? The difference is that here there are reasonable indications that these men are coup plotters. You see, I do not say they are coup plotters. And in our view, this creates a problem with the neighboring country. What we want, is what the prime minister said, that Greece is a state that respects justice, so we will take the issue to court,” Mouzalas said.
“So we will have a court procedure and we will follow whatever the court decides,” he added.