Greek lawyers say Turkey’s decision to place a price on the heads of eight soldiers who were granted asylum in Greece is a “national humiliation.”
Fourteen Greek legal experts accused Turkey of trying to intervene in domestic affairs, after Ankara had put up bounties for the capture of the Turkish soldiers who sought refuge in the neighbouring country, a day after the July 2016 coup attempt.
In a joint statement published on February 12, lawyers and former presidents of the Bar Association in Greece blamed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for demonstrating more authoritarianism and aggressiveness.
They also labelled the bounties an insult to the democratic institutions in Greece and described them as “methods of a political underworld, that has nothing to do with the internationally recognized legal culture.”
Erdogan’s government offered four million Lira ($770,000) for the capture of each of the eight soldiers ahead of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Turkey early in February.
Tsipras echoed his government’s policy during a joint press conference with Erdogan in Ankara, saying he respects the decisions taken by legal authorities in his country, what he calls “the birthplace of democracy.”
“Greece does not welcome coup planners. But the case of eight soldiers is a matter of the judiciary. Greece, as a rule of democracy and law, must respect the judiciary’s decisions,” he said.
In contrary to Ankara’s demand, Greek courts decided last year not to extradite the soldiers, as they are granted asylum and protected by law.
They urged the international community to condemn Turkey’s attitude and called on the Greek government to “respond accordingly.”
They demanded that Tsipras’ government ensured the rights of the eight Turkish military officers.
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