01:09 GMT17 January 2021
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    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Le Figaro newspaper in an interview published Thursday that Athens would not make any concessions on the principle of separation of powers and would not allow the executive branch to overturn the judiciary's decision on refusal to extradite Turkish soldiers.

    Earlier, a court in Athens has ruled against the requests of Ankara to return two out of eight of their citizens in alleged connection with a failed coup in Turkey.

    "I will explain to him [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan]… that we are an EU country, respectful of the law. And the executive branch cannot interfere with the judiciary. We have to respect the decision of the court in our country," Tsipras said when asked how he would respond to a new request for an extradition.

    According to media reports, the escapees have repeatedly denied any ties to the plotting of the foiled revolt and explained their necessary runaway merely by fears for their lives and safety.

    A coup attempt took place on July 16, 2016, resulting in the deaths of 240 people and reportedly leaving more than 2,000 wounded.

    A few hours after the putsch occurred, the Turkish servicemen were on a transport mission, intending to carry the wounded away from Istanbul by a military helicopter, but had been suddenly forced to fly in the direction of the neighbor country, as the chopper had been allegedly attacked by the Turkish special law enforcement units. After sending a distress signal to Greek authorities at the airport in the northern city of Alexandroupolis, all of the eight Turkish citizens reportedly have claimed an asylum.

    Meantime, Ankara suspects Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen and his supporters of having plotted and orchestrated the massive unrest. Fethullah Gulen, who is currently living in exile in the United States, has refuted earlier all of the allegations.

    In addition, the Greek court had earlier also turned down Ankara's query for the extradition of the other six Turkish servicemen.


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    exile, executive branch, revolt, servicemen, soldiers, escape, verdict, asylum, allegations, law, police, court, justice, coup, Fethullah Gulen, Alexis Tsipras, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Greece
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