Athens, July 19, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Turkish Ambassador in Athens, Kerim Uras, held a press conference on the attempted coup that took place in Turkey Friday, July 15. Under the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Mr. Uras called the press conference to inform journalists and the public about what happened that night, as happened in other Turkish Embassies in most countries of the world.
The Turkish Ambassador – having informed the Greek journalists on the course of events that night, and the next day – took stock of the losses in human lives, of rebels, government forces and civilians and the people injured.
Commenting on the wave of arrests that followed the coup, he said the arrests and referrals to justice, not only of those participating in the coup but also of people who are under investigation, will shed light on the event. It does not mean that those held by police are guilty, said the Turkish Ambassador.
He went on to say that he considers decision to allow the landing of a Turkish helicopter in the Alexandroupolis Airport a mistake. When asked by IBNA if he feels it is secure for a Turkish military helicopter to land in any part of a region full of Greek troops and if he can imagine what could happen in a military engagement and shooting down of the helicopter from the Greek side, he replied that he did not mean this, but he was surprised that a helicopter that can land anywhere would land at the Alexandroupolis airport.
Asked by IBNA about the reference of his counterpart in Sofia Suleyman Gokce that there many schools belonging to Fethullah Gulen in the areas of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, if a similar situation applies to the Muslim minority in Thrace, he replied that there is no involvement by Gulen in education of the Muslim minority in Greek territory.
On the fate of the eight Turkish military officials aboard the helicopter that landed in Alexandroupolis, Mr. Uras, said he has already submitted a request for them to be handed over to the Turkish authorities and has submitted to Greek authorities all the necessary all the information proving their involvement in the coup, while assuring that the detainees have a fair trial. Asked what would happen if they are not extradited, Mr. Uras said that it will not be helpful of bilateral relations between the two countries and will influence public opinion in Turkey, which is very sensitive about the issue.
On the chances of the death penalty being restored, the Turkish Ambassador, believes that there should be no speculation about this issue and that he believes the death penalty will not return, adding that even if it does it won’t be retroactively applied, mentioning the example of Ocalan who was sentenced to death but is serving a life-sentence.
The Ambassador also thanked the Greek authorities at the highest level for the timely support and cooperation they gave in face of the coup attempt, and in our efforts to reinstate democracy and the rule of law.
Photo: Spiros Sideris/IBNA