Turkish soldiers go missing from Greece, reports The Times

Turkish soldiers

Turkish soldiers

by Aggelos Skordas

Two of the eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece applying for asylum following the July 2016 failed coup have gone missing and may already be in the hands of Turkish authorities, The Times report. Their lawyer Stavroula Tomara is quoted as saying the two men went missing on August 20 the day the detention order ran out and may have been taken back to Turkey as a prisoner exchange.

“I went to collect them and they were gone. I seriously doubt the two commandos are in Greece any more. They have either been bundled up and taken to a third country or deported back to Turkey. No one has the authority to transfer my clients to any secret location. They should have walked free”, Tomara is quoted as saying by The Times.

Furthermore, Tomara claimed that her clients may have been exchanged with the two Greek servicemen who were in custody for more than five months in a high-security prison in Edirne after accidentally straying into Turkish territory during a  routine border patrol on early March.

She also said that the whereabouts of eight Turkish officers who arrived in the northeastern city of Alexandroupolis with a military helicopter hours after the 2016 coup attempt was unknown since they were moved from a military camp in Agios Andreas on the outskirts of Athens when wildfires razed the region last month.

On his behalf, Greek police spokesperson Theodoros Chronopoulos said that the two soldiers’ release order came through last week but they “were immediately taken to a secret location following a separate request they had made to the authorities for their protection”. He declined to comment on Tomara’s allegations, The Times claim.

None of the eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece asking for political asylum have disappeared, their attorneys have highlighted, unequivocally denouncing The Times’ report. Speaking to SKAI TV the lawyers of the eight Turkish military officers explained that Tomara no longer defends any of the eight Turks.