Turkish pilot presents his case before Council of State over asylum plea

One of the eight Turkish officers who are seeking asylum in Greece after the failed coup in Turkey in 2016 appeared before the Suspension Committee of the Council of State to explain the reasons that led him and his colleagues to escape their country.

Turkish co-pilot Suleyman Ozkaynakci received asylum by an independent asylum committee in 2017 but Greece’s Migration Policy Minister Yannis Mouzalas filed a request to freeze it and a second one to overturn it. The second request will be discussed in court on 4 May, 2018.

In a closed-door session of the CoS plenum presided by Nikolaos Sakellariou, Ozkaynakci explained that on the day of the foiled cup, he was called back to his military unit. He said he had no participation in the coup and that the helicopter he and the other eight officers escaped in was used to transfer injured personnel.

Apart from his lawyers, professors Nikos Alivizatos and Stavros Tsakirakis and the legal team of the Greek Council for Refugees, Ozkaynakci was also supported by the Athens Bar Association, through its members Christoforos Argyropoulos, Haralambos Kondylis and Panagiotis Nikolakopoulos.

The side of the State was represented by lawyers Dimitris Makronides, Pantelis Papadakis and Anastasia Skoundi.

The court’s ruling is expected in March. In the meantime, the Turkish officers are being held at the police station of the former Olympic Village in Acharnes.