Saturday, 03 June 2023 08:57 GMT

Turkish helicopter hijacked by coup soldiers returned by Greece

(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) >A military helicopter used by eight coup supporters to flee toGreecehas been returned to Turkey, diplomatic sources confirmed to Anadolu Agency late June 16. The Black Hawk helicopter was received by members of the Turkish military and left Alexandroupoli at 11:30 p.m. accompanied by two other Turkish military helicopters, according to sources who spoke to Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity. Earlier on July 16, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuolu tweeted that Turkey had 'requested the immediate surrender of the eight traitor soldiers who fled toGreecewith a helicopter.” Greek police said the helicopter landed at the Alexandroupoli airport near the Greek-Turkish border, at around 11.50 a.m. local time. "On Saturday morning a Turkish military helicopter sent an SOS while enteringGreekairspace and asked permission for emergency landing,”Greekgovernment spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said. The eight occupants were arrested and claimed political asylum. The coup supporters will face accusations of "illegal entry" and "damaging the friendly relation between Turkey and Greece,” according to Lia Marinaki, a lawyer of the soldiers. "They will be sent to the prosecutor today. Then judicial process will begin,” she said. 'Under normal circumstances, the process could take a year. It is certain that they do not want to back to Turkey, they are afraid of execution," Marinaki told Anadolu Agency. 'Authorities responsible for asylum will examine the helicopter passengers' request for political asylum in Greece,” theGreekGeneral Staff said in a statement. Çavuolu later said a colonel was the highest-ranking officer of the eight soldiers. Speaking to reporters following a special session of parliament, Çavuolu said he received a telephone call from hisGreekcounterpart, Nikos Kotzias, in which they discussed developments concerning the attempted coup as well as the soldiers who attempted to flee to Greece. 'They will expedite the extradition process,” he said, adding, "God willing, we will bring those traitors to Turkey and surrender them to justice.” During the call, Kotzias reiterated Athens' condemnation of the attempted coup and stressed that the issue would be examined by theGreekgovernment, which would follow the relevant procedures under international law, according to aGreekforeign ministry statement. Kotzias said the fact that the suspects are facing charges for violating the constitutional order and attempting to dismantle the nation's democracy will be taken under very serious consideration, the statement said.

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