Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Greece's Supreme Court rejected a extradition request from Turkey for eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece during Turkey's 2016 coup attempt.
The men – three majors, there captains and two sergeant majors – left Turkey in a helicopter after the coup attempt in July. Turkey regards them as traitors and has demanded their return to stand trial, although the men say they were not involved in the military uprising.
Presiding Judge Giorgios Sakkas, speaking for the court Thursday, said the Turkish servicemen were unlikely to receive a fair trial if they were extradited.
The eight said relatives in Turkey lost their jobs and had their passports confiscated. Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, whose government survived the failed uprising, has since purged the military, government, courts and schools of thousands of people. His critics say he is using the attempted overthrow to remove opponents and strengthen his power.
The action by the court will likely complicate already fragile relations between Turkey and Greece, both members of NATO, the BBC said. The countries are currently attempting to negotiate a peace agreement in Cyprus, a country divided into Greek and Turkish spheres of influence.