Absconding Turkish soldiers questioned in Greece

Eight Turkish soldiers were brought before the Greek public prosecutor in Alexandroupolis on Sunday on charges of illegally entering Greece and breaching air traffic rules, Greek media reported.

The Turkish soldiers landed in Greece in a helicopter on Saturday, seeking asylum after apparently fleeing the failed coup against the government of Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan.

According to the Greek broadcaster ERT, citing the legal representative of four of the soldiers, the men claimed not to have been involved in the coup attempt.

They were on a hospital transport when they came under fire, she said, and they decided to flee across the border.

The soldiers are to undergo further questioning on Monday, before a decision will be made on their case, which could include seeing them remain in Greek custody or being given a conditional release pending a final decision.

The soldiers landed in the Greek port city of Alexandroupolis, near the Turkish border, at midday Saturday.

The pilot of the helicopter requested permission for an emergency landing, and the aircraft was accompanied to the city's airport by two Greek F-16 fighter jets.

The eight were detained upon their arrival at the airport and immediately applied for political asylum, police said.

Turkish military personnel arrived in Alexandroupolis late Saturday to retrieve the Black Hawk helicopter, while Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Greece to extradite the "treasonous soldiers."

Despite a report by the Anadolu news service citing Cavusoglu's claim that his Greek counterpart had promised to extradite the eight "soon," Greece has made reference to international law concerning the right of asylum.

Greece stated that the soldiers' applications for asylum would have to be given the necessary consideration, which could take several weeks.

Last update: Sun, 17/07/2016 - 14:41

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