A handful of Turkish army members who participated in a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan commandeered a helicopter and fled to Greece, authorities said on Saturday, but the euro zone country indicated the bid was likely to be rejected.
The aborted move to overthrow the Erdogan government stunned the world and left hundreds dead after forces loyal to the embattled president pushed back against the military putsch. After foiling his ouster, Erdogan fingered U.S.-based moderate cleric Fethullah Gulen, and said he would formally request his extradition from the U.S. to face charges in Turkey.
The identities and leadership of the coup weren't immediately clear, but on Saturday, a Turkish Army Aviation Black Hawk helicopter landed in the International Airport of Alexandroupoli of northern Greece. The copter transmitted a distress signal that cited mechanical failure.
According to the Greek Aviation Authority, the helicopter was flying at very low altitude and approached from the east. Its crew made the first call on an emergency frequency within 10 miles from the airport of Alexandroupoli.
Greek authority's gave direct permission to the helicopters crew to approach the airport and provided all relevant meteorological information and the runway in use. At the same time, two Greek fighter jets took off to accompany the Black Hawk.
Yet the soldiers' bid for asylum appeared to end in the same failure as the coup. After the helicopter touched down, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu asked Greece to extradite the officers back to the country. In a tweet later on Saturday, Cavusoglu said the servicemen would be returned to Turkey: