A Turkish military helicopter has landed in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece. The ANA-MPA news agency reported on Saturday 16 July reports its eight crew members are requesting political asylum.
The personnel on board have been detained at a police station in Alexandroupolis on charges of illegal entry into the country.
Those on board may be Turkish armed forces that took part in a failed coup on Friday, 15 July, to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan according to Athens newspaper Kathimerini. According to reports, the Turkish Sikorsky Black Hawk military helicopter signalled "mayday and alert" to get permission for an emergency landing, Thema News said.
Two Greek F-16 jet fighters were scrambled to accompany the helicopter, which is now under police guard. The Greek police issued a statement saying the eight people were escorted to the Alexandroupolis police station where they officially asked for political asylum from the Greek authorities.
President Erdogan has stated that his government is in charge of the country, accusing those involved in the coup of committing "treason." At least 265 people have been killed with more than 1,500 people wounded.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister has insisted on the extradition of the Turkish personnel who landed in Greece, NTV television reports. Cavusoglu was saying that ''we have demanded the immediate return of the eight treacherous officers who fled to Greece by helicopter,'' according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency.