TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -One of the lawyers working on the case said Thursday that the committee had accepted the soldier’s asylum application.
“This is the third officer to be granted asylum,” said the lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The decision could further harm relations between Greece with Turkey, two NATO allies that came close to war in 1996 and have recently locked horns over several key issues, including natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe’s refugee crisis.
The government in Athens has been against the committee’s decisions to grant asylum to the soldiers and has appealed against the two previous rulings.
The soldiers fled Turkey to Greece right after the July 16, 2016 coup in Turkey. Ankara has demanded their extradition, saying they should stand trial back home over their alleged role in the coup, which left more than 250 people dead.
The soldiers, who have been released from prison and are now in a guarded location, have denied any wrongdoing and insist their lives would be threatened if they returned home.
Greek courts reviewing the case have rejected Ankara’s extradition requests, saying they are not convinced that the eight soldiers would receive a fair trial in Turkey. Greece’s top court has also rejected Athens’ appeal against rulings by the asylum committee, which is an independent administrative body.
Greek authorities reject Ankara’s allegations that they are harboring coup plotters and insist that the independence of the judiciary should be respected.
Turkey has responded by suspending a bilateral refugee readmission deal with Greece while it has refused to extradite two Greek border guards, who were detained on March 1 after crossing the frontier in bad weather.
Source: Press TV