Greece has refused Turkey’s second request for the extradition of two of eight Turkish soldiers who arrived in the country seeking political asylum after the failed coup attempt last year.
The first request for the extradition of all eight soldiers was refused in January, prompting Turkey to immediately send a second request, which has been pending and was blocked today.
The decision is likely to frustrate Ankara and increase tensions between the two nations.
Turkey has branded the soldiers traitors, alleging that they were involved in the attempted military coup aiming to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AKP party from power in July 2016. The soldiers themselves have denied the claims, saying they simply feared for their lives following the backlash by the Turkish government.
Erdogan has insisted they be returned to Turkey to face charges of trying to overthrow the government, and has publicly proclaimed that both the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, as well as the country’s foreign minister promised him the day the soldiers fled that they would be sent back.