Eight Turkish military officers, who had landed in Greece after an attempted coup failed in their homeland, have been charged by Greek prosecutors.
Turkish officers escorted by Greek police officers leave the courthouse of Alexandroupoli after appearing before a Greek prosecutor, on July 17, 2016. (AFP photo)
Their lawyer said Sunday that the eight, who had arrived by a military helicopter at the airport of the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis, were charged with illegal entry into Greece.
Ilia Marinaki said the men will go on trial on Monday, adding that they remained in custody and had not made contact with their families.
Officials in Athens said the men had violated Greece's airspace and should face charges of illegal entry. The officers had sought asylum, saying they did not participate in the attempted coup and only escaped to Greece to save their lives as police were trying to shoot down their helicopter.
Marinaki said the officers feared for the safety of themselves and their families. She said all of them are married and are in their forties.
The Turkish government and military say more than 250 people were killed in the course of the coup in the country which unfolded late Friday and was declared as failed a day later. The government has launched a harsh crackdown on those believed to have been behind the failed putsch.
Turkey has officially asked Greece to send the officers back. Greek government sources said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had made a phone call to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and thanked the Greek leader for the support he showed to the Turkish government during the coup. They said Tsipras also vowed that the legal procedure for the Turkish asylum seekers will be swift.
Earlier on Sunday, Athens sent back to Turkey the helicopter used by the officers.
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