Former Greek DM: We knew about the coup against Erdoğan hours before it happened

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Former Greek Defence Minister Evangelos Apostolakis stated the readiness of Greece on the night of July 15, 2016, when a failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was manifesting.

In fact, he stressed that Greece knew about the coup several hours before it happened.

"We had the information that a coup was planned from noon... The night the coup began to develop, I tried to make contact, there were no telephones. We were watching Erdoğan's movements, we knew he was in a hotel," the former minister told MEGA.

In the background that night, Apostolakis declined to answer a question about whether Erdoğan thought he would receive help from Greece by helicopter if needed.

"What I can say is that Greece was ready, because there was a chance that the coup would develop and we would have leaks... That night we had a good mobilization. The fleet was all out," he said. "The information was initially that the coup had succeeded and that Erdoğan had lost, and from that night onwards the situation began to change."

As part of this readiness, Greece, as he underlined, was willing from the beginning to send back a helicopter with the eight members of the Turkish army that escaped to Greece.

"Even when the helicopter with the eight came, an attempt was made to return the helicopter back, but the communications were lost... When [Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi] Akar asked me to return them to Turkey, the situation had changed, they had been arrested, they had started the the asylum process, justice was in the middle, there was no case for anything to be done," stressed Apostolakis.

The former Minister of Defence also referred to the current tension between Turkey and Greece. "I do not think the hot incident is in anyone's interest. The chances of it occurring are slim. Both the preparation and the will to deal with it must be clear," he said.