An appellate level council in Athens on Monday issued a decision permanently blocking the extradition of three out of eight Turkish military officers that sought political asylum in Greece following the July 15 coup in the neighboring country.
The decision follows a recommendation by the relevant prosecutor in the case, who accepted the primary argument put forth by the trio, namely, that their lives are at risk if they are handed over to Turkish authorities.
Another hearing, at the same judicial level, will come on Tuesday for another three of the eight Turkish nationals, with a third hearing on Wednesday for the remaining two.
Nevertheless, Monday's ruling is widely expected to be applied in the appeals by the other six Turkish officers.
In her closing argument, the bench prosecutor said the families of the wanted men are already facing persecution, whereas the European Parliament recently suspended talks on the future accession of Turkey to the Union.
With the decision by the council of appeals judges the Turkish government has exhausted the legal route for requesting the extradition, unless it tables a new request based on evidence for other offenses.
In a later reaction out of Ankara, according to the site ahaber.com.tr, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik first called on Greek courts to be “careful” and then combined the independent judiciary with the executive branch in the EU member-state to Turkey’s west in the same sentence.
He was quoted as saying that “terrorism is terrorism, there is no distinction. Courts should take more careful decisions for terrorist organizations; governments should demonstrate their solidarity among allies. Greece is an ally of Turkey in NATO. Our expectations from the Greek government are for it to make every possible effort that that members of the Gulen network return to Turkey.”