“Eight Turkish military officers who fled to Greece”

Eight Turkish military officers who fled to Greece after last week’s failed coup went on trial Thursday for illegal entry in a case that threatens to strain ties between the NATO allies. The eight are being tried in the northern city of Alexandroupoli, where they arrived by military helicopter on Saturday after sending a distress signal to authorities. If convicted, they face a sentence of up to five years in prison. According to one of their lawyers, Ilia Marinaki, the soldiers — two commanders, four captains and two sergeants — fear for their safety and that of their families after the abortive bid to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. To block their deportation to Turkey, they have applied for asylum in Greece. Whatever the court ruling on Thursday, any action on their fate will likely have to wait until early August when asylum authorities are to decide on their applications. Turkish authorities insist they will receive fair treatment at home, despite widespread a retaliatory crackdown by Erdogan’s government. Turkey’s ambassador has warned that failure to return the officers “will not help” ties”.

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