Junior coalition party MP Kostas Katsikis found himself in a corner last week, when he entertained, during a television interview, the thought that Greece should trade the eight Turkish military officers who requested asylum, to avoid being charged as conspirators against Recep Tayip Erdogan.
“Let’s be honest, this is where Erdogan is taking the matter,” he said on air, claiming that both countries could bypass the respective court rulings and reach a deal. Faced with severe backlash from the opposition and even his own party, the far-right Independent Greeks, the MP later claimed that his remarks were hypothetical and in no case a reflection of his party’s views on the issue; still, Turkish media picked up on his statement and noted that it was the first time than anyone in Greece talks about an exchange. The Greek supreme court has denied any motions to extradite the eight servicemen, who fled Turkey after the failed coup against Erdogan, but are yet to be granted asylum.
At the same time, the two Greek soldiers who mistakenly tresspassed the Greece – Turkey borders, are still detained without any charges filed against them, as the legal procedure is taking too long.
From his part the Turkish President sent a message to the European Union leadership, through Turkey’s largest daily newspaper, “Hurriyet” saying: “It is not fair for you to involve yourselves so much with the (two) Greek soldiers when you are not involved with extradition of the eight Turkish putschists.” Recep Tayip Erdogan though he refrained from further linking the two incidents, conforming with the article’s headlne: “I am not above Turkish law”.