One of the eight former Turkish servicemen who claimed asylum in Greece after Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt has been released from custody.
The Council of State — Greece’s highest administrative court — ruled on Thursday that the man should be freed from detention. Thursday’s decision is likely to be replicated for the seven remaining detainees, who are still sought by Ankara.
However, the former officer is barred from leaving the Greece and will stay at a secret location amid tight security. His asylum application is ongoing.
Recently, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis predicted the Turkish men would be released in May.
The eight have also reached the maximum detention of 18 months prior to a trial.
Kontonis said that Turkey has not requested their trial in Greece, therefore, “following the expiration of 18 months, which is coming up in May, there is no provision of extending their detention”.
The case has had international implications for Greece-Turkey relations, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in late March appearing to link the fate of the two Greek soldiers being held in Edirne with that of the eight detainees in Greece.
On his return from an EU-Turkey summit that took place at the Bulgarian city of Varna, Erdogan claimed he told the EU representatives that “it is not fair to be concerned only by the Greek soldiers and not be concerned about the Turkish soldiers”.
Ankara has also been infuriated by Greek court rulings which turned down extradition requests for Turkish far-left activists charged with terrorism offences.