Greek court rejects extraditing another terrorism suspect to Turkey
IN A PREDICTABLE verdict yesterday, a Greek court rejected Turkey’s extradition request for a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) terrorist group. Halaz Seçer was among nine suspects arrested last year in Athens over a terror plot. She and other members of the terrorist group were allegedly planning to assassinate visiting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Judges ruled that the “life of Seçer would be in danger” if returned to Turkey, a motive that previously stopped extradition requests for two other suspects. DHKP-C militants claim to be politically persecuted, although the group is recognized as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States whose embassy in Ankara was attacked by a DHKP-C terrorist in 2013.
Greek courts earlier rejected extradition requests for Şadi Naci Özpolat and Mehmet Doğan who were among nine suspects.
All suspects face charges of possession of explosives and guns, membership in a terrorist group and possession of false documents.
Greek media outlets reported that the suspects, including one who was granted political asylum in France, were planning to launch an attack on Erdoğan’s motorcade during his December visit to Athens. Hasan Biber, the perpetrator of the 2013 rocket attacks that targeted the ruling party’s headquarters and Justice Ministry offices in Ankara, was among the captured suspects. Biber was released after he was captured for transporting munitions to Turkey from a Greek island a few years ago.
Though Greece and Turkey signaled the will to improve their once hostile relations during Erdoğan’s visit, several issues such as a dispute over territorial waters overshadow the ties. Greece’s rejection of extradition of eight soldiers involved in 2016’s coup bid engineered by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) further deepened the crisis. For decades, Greece has served as a safe haven for the DHKP-C and other terrorist groups active in Turkey, whose members were granted political asylum.