Athens aims for delicate balance in Turkey ties

23 July 2016
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The government is keeping a low profile as it braces for what it expects to be a rough ride ahead in Greek-Turkish relations, given the asylum application of eight soldiers that Ankara wants extradited to Turkey to stand trial as “traitors.”

With analysts predicting the possibility of a spillover in the punitive aftermath of the neighboring country’s failed coup, the Greek government is trying to strike a delicate balance between Turkish demands and the international legal rights of the soldiers, whose lawyers say run the risk of being tortured or killed if they are extradited.

Matters could be further complicated if Turkey reinstates the death penalty.

With Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s campaign to root out coup sympathizers in full swing, Athens has the added concern that diplomats, military officials, members of the financial elites and secular Turks could seek refuge in Greece – which would undoubtedly fuel further tension.

The Greek armed forces have been on high alert since last week, while the coast guard is conducting patrols along the eastern sea border in a bid to intercept possible fugitives from Turkey.

Moreover, Athens is keeping open lines of communication with NATO allies and Ankara.

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