One of the Turkish servicemen who fled Turkey to Greece two years ago after a failed military coup, has been cleared to receive asylum by Greece’s Supreme Court.
The judges rejected the challenge made by the Greek government against the decision to grant asylum, which is expected to apply to the seven others as well.
The ruling, heard on Wednesday, is expected to fuel the already heightened tensions between the neighbouring countries.
Despite continued requests from Turkey to release the men, all of whom have denied any ties to the coup, the Greek courts have refused, concerned they would not receive a fair trial in their own country, endangering their lives.
A lawyer representing the men, Omiros Zelios said that his clients had yet to decide what their plans would be once granted asylum, but one thing is for certain; they do not wish to continue adding to tensions between the two countries.
“They believe that their presence (in Greece) creates tension with Turkey, and as they do not want to be involved in political and diplomatic games, for them to go to another neutral country to rebuild their lives seems a reasonable and prudent option,” Mr Zelios told The Associated Press (AP).
Nikos Alivizatos, a lawyer of one of the eight men, said that he had concerns for them no matter where they end up.
“Wherever they go, I’m afraid that they will have problems, based on the warrants Turkey has issued [for their arrest],” he told the AP.
Greek authorities are expected to rule on the status of the other asylum applications after summer.