A delegation from Turkey’s justice ministry is in Athens on Monday ahead of a planned meeting with Greek justice officials.
The meetings concern the presence of eight Turkish former-servicemen currently in Greek custody and applying for asylum after fleeing Turkey in a helicopter on the night of July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Greek media and Turkish sources confirmed that the delegation included Turkish Deputy Minister of Justice Bilal Utsar. However, it remains unclear if Tuesday’s meetings will directly involve Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis.
Greece’s government came in for stinging criticism earlier this month from a German media outlet for its handling of the case.
Spiegel Online carried a piece accusing the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of being willing to believe the men will get a fair trial in Turkey, despite the stated concerns of Greece’s judiciary.
Greece’s Deputy Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas has already filed an appeal against one of the men who had been granted asylum. An Athens court on Jan. 16 upheld a decision to return former Turkish military pilot Suleyman Ozkaynakci into police custody.
Turkey, on the other hand, demands their extradition, accusing them of being traitors who tried to violently overthrow Ankara’s government.
The issue is a long-running concern for Athens and has caused diplomatic friction with Ankara.
Greece’s Supreme Court has ruled that the eight ex-military personnel should not be extradited to Turkey, on the grounds they will not receive a fair trial and could possibly be tortured.