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Greek PM Says He Did Not Promise to Extradite Turkish Soldiers Wanted by Turkey

Amid an ongoing row with Ankara, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he did not promise to extradite Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016.

“I couldn’t have promised about this. I’m aware of the principle of separation of powers in a country like Greece. I haven’t been able to make a promise to the leader of a foreign country about a ruling that the judicial authorities would make,” state-run Anadolu agency quoted the Greek prime minister telling Greek state television ERT.

The issue remains a bitter source of friction between Turkey and Greece. Last week, a Greek court decided to release the last remaining four of the eight Turkish military officers. It produced new diplomatic dispute, with Ankara slamming Greece for harboring what it says “terrorists.”

The officers fled to a Greek island on a military helicopter when the coup attempt failed. Greek Supreme Court refused to extradite soldiers, citing lack of a right to fair trial and reports of rampant torture in Turkey.

The Greek authorities placed the Turkish soldiers under 7/24 strict protection after a Turkish government official vowed to kidnap them wherever they are in Greece.

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