UPDATE 2 – Greek judiciary slammed for backing 'enemies of Turkey'

UPDATES WITH TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTRY, MILITARY OFFICIALS REACTIONS

By Faruk Zorlu and Cansu Dikme

ANKARA (AA) – The Greek judiciary has supported "enemies of Turkey" by granting asylum to coup-plotters, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party said on Wednesday.

In a Twitter post, AK Party spokesman Omer Celik said: "Greek judiciary sided with Turkey’s enemies and coup plotters with this decree. This is much more serious and shameful than supporting terrorism."

The statement came after the country's General Council of State rejected the government's appeal against the asylum of one of the eight ex-Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after the July 2016 defeated coup.

"We will never forget those who support terrorists by providing arms and protect coup plotters by judicial decrees," Celik said.

"Greece suffered a lot from coups in the past but it is obvious now that there are other motives for Greek judiciary to leave the path of law and instead protect coup plotters," he said.

The General Council of State, which is the supreme administrative court of Greece, made its decision on Suleyman Ozkaynakci's case Tuesday, setting a precedent for other cases involving the seven fugitive Turkish soldiers.

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

Turkey 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 the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (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.

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the decision "not only breaches Greece’s international obligations to combat terrorism, but also constitutes a violation of the provisions of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

"By rejecting the extradition of the putschist traitors, Greece has prepared the ground for such decisions, which offends the conscience of the Turkish nation."

Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Ministry and military officials called the decision to grant asylum to FETO members an “exact example of lack of foresight”.

"The court decision on the coup-plotters is an exact example of lack of foresight in a period when we are talking about the reinitialization of confidence-building measures and showing all kinds of good intentions,” the officials told Anadolu Agency.

“No improvement can be expected on the implementation of the confidence-building measures without taking decisions on the coup terrorists in accordance with the law, democracy and good neighborly relations,” they added.

“It is obvious that it will have serious negative effects on our relations."

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