Greece rejects new extradition request for Turkish soldiers

Greek prosecutors have argued that the asylum-seeking soldiers would not receive a fair trial in Turkey. Ankara has accused the soldiers of involvement in a failed coup that left more than 300 people dead.

A Greek court on Wednesday blocked Turkey's second request for the extradition of three Turkish soldiers who fled the country last year in the wake of a failed coup.

The court accepted arguments made by the prosecutor that the men would not receive a fair trial and would place their lives in danger upon returning to Turkey.

"They may be subjected to torture and inhumane behavior," the Greek prosecutor said.

Ankara has sought the extradition of eight Turkish service members, whom it accuses of participating in a failed coup last year that left more than 300 people dead, including civilians.

Asylum-seeking soldiers

The men landed a helicopter in Greece on July 16 and requested asylum upon their arrival, saying they feared for their lives.

They have denied allegations that they attempted to suspend the constitution, dissolve parliament and assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Greece's supreme court had previously ruled against Turkey's extradition request, effectively covering all eight service members. However, Ankara issued a second request in January.

Last week, the supreme court ruled against the extradition of three of the soldiers. It is expected to review the request for the remaining two on Thursday.

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Bloodshed by the Bosphorus

A blood covered resident of Istanbul stands near the Bosphorus Bridge. There were clashes between civilians and the army after the military had blocked the bridge. Government sources say that more than 260 people were killed in fighting during the coup attempt.

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Tanks roll through streets

Tanks drove through several cities in the night in a completely surprise move. The Turkish military announced its takeover. The tracked vehicles flattened cars in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, turning the country into a war zone.

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Lights out in parliament

After the bombing of parliament in Ankara, the building is in ruins. Fighter jets flew low over the capital and had the citizens panicking.

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Who owns the Republic Monument?

The army not only closed the Bosphorus Bridge: it also occupied Taksim Square, a main transportation hub in Istanbul. The soldiers positioned themselves in front of the Republic Monument.

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Icon of resistance

Erdogan supporters also protested on the square. A showdown began when a soldier pointed his gun at a man. The army opened fire on the protesting crowd on the square.

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The calm after the storm

Shirts off their backs: After the failed coup attempt, rebel soldiers laid down their arms on the Bosporus Bridge and fled.

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Put to flight

After the armed forces had surrendered, soldiers tried to get on a bus to flee from the angry masses.

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Cheering crowds

President Tayyip Erdogan returned to Istanbul. Cheering crowds received him at the airport. Erdogan announced that the rebels would pay a heavy price.

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It's over!

Erdogan supporters triumph and wave the Turkish flag after the army's withdrawal. The coup attempt has failed.

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Posing on a tank

Bizarre souvenir: A mother took a picture of her daughter on top of a tank. The tank on the Bosphorus Bridge was surrounded by Turkish police.

'Crisis'

The failed coup of July 2016 prompted Turkish authorities to declare a state of emergency, which has witnessed a massive crackdown on freedoms of expression, association and assembly.

More than 43,000 people in the armed forces, police, schools and judiciary have been arrested for alleged connections to self-exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the coup.

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Human rights organizations have criticized the Turkish government for the mass arrests and dismissals, saying they amount to severe violations of economic, social and cultural rights.

"With hundreds of thousands of people dismissed or detained without due process, an independent media silenced and Kurdish opposition members of parliament in jail, Turkey has been plunged into its worst crisis in a generation," said Hugh Williamson, Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia director, in January.

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Quadriga | 21.07.2016

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ls/bw (Reuters, AP)