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Greek Court Postpones Trial of Turkish Military Officials to Next Thursday | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Vasilis Ververidis/ Reuters

Athena – Greek’s Alexandroupolis Court issued a decision yesterday to postpone for next Thursday the trial of the eight Turkish military personnel who had escaped following last week’s attempted coup in Ankara.

The delay came after lawyers of the military personnel had asked for more time to prepare their defense and statements.

The eight military personnel are facing trial after they were accused of illegally entering Greece. Their helicopter landed in Alexandroupolis following an attempted coup in Turkey last Friday.

The pilot of the helicopter is charged with violating air traffic regulations while the seven others are charged with being accomplices.

Turkey is seeking their return, however, all eight military personnel had asked for political asylum in Greece.

The eight, whose ranks were identified as two majors, four captains and two master sergeants, had left the court yesterday handcuffed, while their heads were covered with pieces of clothes, the same way they had entered the court.

The Greek government has said their asylum applications will be examined according to international law; however, it will take into consideration they are accused of participating in a coup attempt in their country.

The military’s lawyer Vassiliki Ilia Marinaki said her clients were not yet allowed to contact their families.

The personnel insist they had not participated in the coup, but that they were forced to escape to Greece after police officers started shooting at them.

Marinaki said her clients feared for their lives and that of their families, particularly following reports that Turkey could reinstate the death penalty.

Sources from the Greek government said that Erdogan had called Greek’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday night to thank him for his position against the coup attempt. Tsipras had expressed on Saturday morning his support to the democratically elected Turkish government.

Tsipras had also promised Erdogan that the court would quickly issue its verdict against the eight military personnel, adding that Greece will take the necessary measures to extradite the personnel.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglo said that Ankara has demanded the return of the eight military personnel last Friday.