Turkey criticized Greece on Wednesday for acquitting nine people jailed before a 2017 visit by the Turkish president. They had been accused of plotting a coup while the President was on his visit.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement, “The acquittal reveals why these terrorist elements are nested in Greece.”
The nine suspects were arrested by Greek police on suspicion of attempting to assassinate Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
This decision by the Greek court is clearly interrupting efforts to combat terrorism in Europe, Aksoy added.
Earlier on Wednesday, an Athens court acquitted three of the defendants of all charges. The others received sentences of two years and seven months in prison for misdemeanor weapons possession and forged documents. All nine had been in jail since November of 2017.
The prosecutor at the trial had also called for the defendants to be acquitted of the terrorism charges.
The arrests followed a major anti-terrorism police operation days before Turkish President Erdogan’s visit.
The nine had been charged with belonging to the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, which has been deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.