Athens aims for del­i­cate bal­ance in Ankara ties

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The govern­ment is keep­ing a low pro­file as it braces for what it ex­pects to be a rough ride ahead in Greek-Turk­ish re­la­tions, given the asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tion of eight sol­diers that Ankara wants ex­tra­dited to Turkey to stand trial as “traitors.”

With an­a­lysts pre­dict­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a spillover in the puni­tive af­ter­math of the neigh­bor­ing coun­try’s failed coup, the Greek govern­ment is try­ing to strike a del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween Turk­ish de­mands and the in­ter­na­tional le­gal rights of the sol­diers, whose lawyers say run the risk of be­ing tor­tured or killed if they are ex­tra­dited.

Mat­ters could be fur­ther com­pli­cated Turkey re­in­states the death penalty.

With Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s cam­paign to root out coup sym­pa­thiz­ers in full swing, Athens has the added con­cern that diplo­mats, mil­i­tary of­fi­cials, mem­bers of the fi­nan­cial elites and sec­u­lar Turks could seek refuge in Greece – which would un­doubt­edly fuel fur­ther ten­sion.

The Greek armed forces have been on high alert since last week, while the coast guard is con­duct­ing pa­trols along the eastern sea bor­der in a bid to in­ter­cept pos­si­ble fugi­tives from Turkey. if

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