Greece accepts demand of 2 fugitive Turkish putschists

By Furkan Naci Top

ATHENS (AA) – Greece on Monday agreed to provide protection to two former Turkish elite commandos linked with Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind July 2016 defeated coup attempt in Turkey.

Police spokesman Theodoros Hronopoulos told Anadolu Agency the 18-month detention period of fugitive ex-commandos Halit Cetin and Fatih Arik had ended last week.

The duo, who used to be part of Turkish army's underwater offensive (SAT) operation units, then requested protection after securing their release.

Hronopoulos said the request of Cetin and Arik was accepted, and they were later dispatched to a secret place after they left their camp; he added that their asylum process continues.

Cetin and Arik requested asylum in Greece after they entered the country illegally in February 2017.

Stavroula Tomara, lawyer of the duo, told the Greek media on Monday that she had been unable to reach Cetin and Arik since Aug. 20.

According to Greek law, a person whose asylum process is ongoing can be detained for a maximum of 18 months.

A few hours after the July 2016 defeated coup to overthrow the Turkish government, eight ex-military personnel had arrived in Greece on a hijacked Black Hawk helicopter and requested asylum.

Turkey had immediately issued an extradition request, which was eventually declined by the Greek Supreme Court in January 2017, after a series of trials and appeals.

Turkish authorities accuse the soldiers of being involved in the defeated July 2016 coup and being members of FETO.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

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