A Turkish military helicopter carrying eight supporters of the coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed at the airport of Greek city of Alexandroupolis “Demokritos” on Saturday, several Greek officials said.
Turkey demanded the extradition of the eight soldiers who fled to Greece after the coup which attempted on late Friday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted on Saturday: “We have requested the immediate surrender of the eight traitor soldiers who fled to Greece with a helicopter.”
Police headquarters in Komotini confirmed that the eight people were arrested by Greek police at 11.50 am local Greek time.
Greece’s defense ministry says a Blackhawk military helicopter carrying seven Turkish military personnel and one civilian has landed at the airport in the city of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece.
The passengers have asked for asylum. They were arrested for illegal entry into Greece.
The ministry says the helicopter gave a distress signal at 10:45 a.m. Greek local time and landed six minutes later.
According to an official in the Greek National Defense General Staff, “the helicopter is scheduled to be sent back immediately to Turkey”. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras early today expressed his “support for the democratically elected” Turkish government.
“They are military officers up to the level of major,” a senior Greek official said.
Olga Gerovasili, a spokeswoman for the Greek government, told state TV that international law procedures are going to be followed.
“It will be taken into consideration that in their country they are accused of attempting to overturn the constitutional democracy and violate legality,” Mrs. Gerovasili said.
This incident comes after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared he is in control of the country early Saturday as loyal military and police forces quashed a coup attempt during a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left dozens dead.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who flew home early Saturday, said coup supporters “will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.”
Greece and Turkey, both NATO members, have longstanding tensions and there have been a number of bilateral crises between the countries over recent decades.