Greece rejects asylum bids by 3 fleeing Turkish military officers: sources

2016-09-21 14:59:13 GMT2016-09-21 22:59:13(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

ATHENS, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The asylum bids of three out of eight Turkish military officers, who fled to Greece in July after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, were rejected by Greek authorities on Wednesday, according to Greek asylum service sources.

A day after the coup attempt, the eight officers landed at an airport in northern Greece on a Turkish military helicopter and requested asylum.

Ankara asked for their extradition in late August, calling them "traitors" who participated in the coup attempt.

In their statements in front of Greek judges and through their lawyers, the eight men have repeatedly rejected the charges.

They claimed they fled to Greece fearing for their lives when their helicopter came under fire on the evening of July 15 and they were informed by relatives about attacks on military personnel.

Greek asylum sources told Xinhua on Wednesday that the officers can appeal the initial decision within two weeks.

Under the legislative framework, the procedures following Wednesday's decision are lengthy and can take up to nine months, officials said speaking to Xinhua on condition on anonymity.

Their lawyer Stavroula Tomara told Xinhua they intend to appeal any negative ruling and may seek asylum also in other countries.