Turkish Ambassador Says Greece Must Return Asylum Soldiers

FILE - One of eight Turkish soldiers who landed in Greece after fleeing a failed coup is being escorted at the Asylum Agency in Athens, Jan. 8, 2018. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Stelios Misinas)

ATHENS – Despite rounds of diplomacy and Greek Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Turkey – and the countries defense chiefs talking – relations remain tense, with Turkey again calling for the return of eight servicemen seeking asylum after fleeing a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey’s Ambassdor to Greece, Burak Ozugergi, told his country’s state-run Anadolu news agency that “the putschists should be tried by Turkish justice after being extradited to Turkey,” although Greece’s highest court barred their return, saying their lives would be in danger with Erdogan at one point considering return of the death penalty.

Ozugergin said there were many unresolved issues between the two countries and that it is important for channels of dialogue to remain open while simultaneously indicating that the return of the servicemen is non-negotiable.

Turkey put a bounty on the heads of the servicemen for their return although they are being guarded by riot police at a military barracks after Turkey also said it would go as far as trying to kidnap them.