Suleyman Ozkaynakci among 8 ex-soldiers seeking asylum in Greece after July 2016 coup bid

By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun, Anadolu Agency

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday condemned a decision by the top court in Greece granting asylum to ex-Turkish soldier Suleyman Ozkaynakci, who Ankara accuses of involvement in the 2016 coup bid.

In a statement, the ministry said the Greek Council of State, the highest administrative court in the country, “in defiance of the rules of international law, granted asylum to putschist Suleyman Ozkaynakci”.

“It has been thereby reaffirmed by the international community that Greece is a country, which protects and shelters the putschists. We strongly condemn this decision that deeply offends the conscience of the Turkish nation,” the statement added.

“We hope that the Greek judiciary will refrain from repeating the same mistakes by taking similar biased decisions in the future,” it said.

Ozkaynakci’s asylum request had been accepted in December 2017 by an independent asylum commission in Greece, but later the Greek government raised an objection to it.

He was released briefly after being granted asylum but was arrested again after the government raised an objection to the asylum.

The Greek Council of State evaluated the government’s objection last month and ordered the release of Ozkaynakci under strict control until the results of asylum applications of all eight Turkish coup plotters come out.

The eight former Turkish servicemen fled to Greece a day after the defeated 2016 Turkish coup. They are accused by Turkish authorities of involvement in the coup and being members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.