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Turkey: Greece granting asylum to coup plotter will affect ties.

Turkey said on Saturday a Greek court's granting of asylum to a Turkish soldier accused of a role in last year's coup attempt would affect bilateral relations and cooperation on regional issues.

Eight Turkish soldiers fled to Greece following the abortive July 2016 coup. Seven of them applied for asylum and were rejected, but have been kept in protective custody.

Greek courts have blocked two extradition requests by Turkish authorities, drawing an angry rebuke from Ankara and highlighting the tense relations between the Nato allies, who remain at odds over various issues.

"By granting asylum to one of eight coup plotters involved in the July 15 coup, Greece has once again showed that it is a country that protects and embraces coup plotters with this decision," Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in the statement.

A Greek police official confirmed that the eighth Turkish soldier had been granted asylum. "…Therefore Greek authorities are obliged to release him," the official said.

Officials at the Greek foreign ministry were not immediately available for comment.

During his visit to Greece earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara did not want Greece to turn into a safe haven for coup plotters.

The two neighbours teetered on the brink of war in 1974, 1987 and 1996 over long-running disputes over ethnically divided Cyprus, mineral rights in the Aegean Sea and sovereignty over uninhabited islets in the Aegean.

Since the attempted coup, Turkish authorities have jailed around 50,000 people pending trial while more than 150,000 have been sacked or suspended from their jobs in the military, public and private sectors.

Rights groups and Turkey's Western allies say they fear President Tayyip Erdogan is using the failed coup as a pretext to crush all dissent. The Ankara government says its security measures are necessary to fight the threats it is facing.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:Dec 30, 2017
Words:337
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