Turkey threatens European Union over extradition of rebel soldiers

Ankara : Turkey has threatened European Union (EU) that it will back out from the deal made with EU regarding migrants, if the soldiers, participated in the unsuccessful military coup staged last year in Turkey, are not handed over to Turkey. Turkey issued this threat after the Supreme Court of Greece turned down Turkey’s demand of extradition of the rebel soldiers to Turkey. At the same time, nearly 40 Turkish soldiers, deployed in Germany under a NATO campaign, have requested to Merkel government to grant them asylum in Germany.

Turkey threatens European Union over extradition of rebel soldiers

On July 15, 2016, a group of soldiers within the Turkish army had attempted to stage a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, the coup attempt was foiled within the night, by the Turkish army and the police force with the help of Turkey’s civilians. Consequently, President Erdogan issued orders to arrest the soldiers, who participated in the coup. Accordingly, so far, more than 50 thousand soldiers and policemen have been arrested. In addition to this, several government officials, judges, teachers and government employees, totaling more than 40 thousand, have also been detained by the Turkish government. In spite of that, some rebel soldiers managed to flee the country successfully.

Out of these, 8 soldiers managed to escape to the adjacent country Greece. These included 3 Majors, 3 Captains and 2 Sergeant Majors. These 8 rebel military officials landed in Greece using a military helicopter and pleaded Greece government to grant them asylum. Moreover, the soldiers have claimed that the charges thrust on them by Erdogen government are baseless and they did not play any role in the coup. However, Erdogan government is firm on its stand that Greece must extradite the rebel soldiers and the soldiers must face legal actions according to Turkish laws.  

This dispute of extradition of the Turkish soldiers has landed in Greece court, where the judge ‘Giorgos Sakka’, in his ruling on Thursday, ruled out the extradition of these soldiers. He clarified that these soldiers must not be extradited as they may not get justice in Turkey. Turkey, displeased by the ruling, has severely criticized Greece. By ruling to not hand over the soldiers to Turkey, Greece is supporting terrorism, criticized the Foreign Ministry of Turkey.

‘We condemn the ruling preventing the extradition of these soldiers, who participated in the coup in Turkey and who posed a threat to the life of our President. The decision signifies a retreat by Greece, the neighbouring and friendly country of Turkey, from the war against terrorism and crime’, cred the Turkish Foreign Ministry. The Turkish Foreign Ministry also warned that Turkey shall retaliate if Greece does not hand over the rebel soldiers to Turkey.

Turkey has entered an alliance with Greece and European Union for accepting the migrants. However, if Greece does not extradite the soldiers, Turkey will back out from the alliance regarding the migrants. Turkey has threatened EU in no uncertain words that henceforth it will not accept the migrants coming from EU into the country.

In the meanwhile, nearly 40 Turkish soldiers, who were posted at the NATO office in Germany, have requested Germany for asylum. Turkey has alleged that these soldiers had participated in the failed coup and is since demanding that they be handed over to Turkey. A dispute has spiraled over the issue and Turkey is threatening to break the alliance with EU, if its demands are not met.

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