Will Greek authorities extradite the 8 Turkish soldiers?
[Introduction to Ocalan and the Kurds omitted for clarity…read on site.–ed.]
Today Greece finds itself in a case where it has to choose between adhering to Turkey’s demand for the extradition of the eight asylum seekers and following international law regarding the application for political asylum.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised him on the telephone that the detainees will be extradited to Turkey within 15 to 20 days. Government Spokesperson Olga Gerovasili said that in the asylum application, the Greek judicial authorities will take into serious consideration the fact that the eight military men were trying to overthrow a democratically elected government.
On the same wavelength, Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas stated that this is a special case where the detainees are suspected of treason and using violence to overthrow the government against the will of the people.
In Turkey, the signs the day after the coup attempt were ominous. The Turkish president, indirectly, has promised revenge. The punishment of the perpetrators will be decisive and harsh, he stated, adding that he is considering reinstating the death penalty. Erdogan has often displayed authoritarian beliefs and practices. Given the lynchings, torture and abuse of army personnel participating in the coup attempt, the fate of the eight men if they are extradited to Turkey is almost determined.
Yet, no one knows what the next day in Turkey will be like. Especially regarding relations between Turkey and the European Union, or its neighboring Greece. Erdogan came up much stronger after the failed coup, exerting his power by firing thousands of army, police and judicial officials only two days after the event.
Athens has to be very careful in handling this difficult situation. The eight Turkish soldiers claim they had orders to fly and collect wounded soldiers when they received fire from the police. They were forced to flee because they would be accused of participating in the coup attempt, they said.
Despite their claims that their lives and the lives of their families are in peril, the asylum seekers must prove that they did not actively participate in the coup and they were just following orders to salvage wounded soldiers.
Whatever the case, hard logic suggests that human rights protection would be set aside and the eight asylum seekers are likely to be “sacrificed” in order to maintain the good relations between the two governments.
Like in the case of Ocalan, one might say.