Hours before Greek PM Tsipras arrives in Ankara, Turkey puts bounty on heads of 8 Turkish officers granted asylum

The Ecumenical Patriarch has been invited to the official dinner for the first time

The Turkish Ministry of Interior Affairs has issued a 700,000-euro bounty for the capture each of the 8 Turkish army officers granted asylum by Greece, hours before the arrival of Greek PM Alexis Tsipras in Turkey on a 2-day official visit to Ankara.

The 8 officers are considered members of the FETO group, which is led by self-exiled Muslim scholar in the US Fetullah Gulen and has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkish authorities. Turkey accuses the group and its leader of being behind the failed coup attempt in 2016 which resulted in sweeping persecutions against military and state personnel suspected of having links with the group.
The photos and details of the 8 Turks were posted on the Turkish Armed Forces’ special website for those wanted for terrorism issues.

According to a Hurriyet article yesterday, Ankara is “almost certain” that Alexis Tsipras has made efforts to extradite the eight Turkish soldiers in Turkey: “Erdogan and Tsipras will also discuss fugitive Turkish soldiers who were granted asylum, despite trying to overthrow the government with a coup in July 2016. Turkey was almost certain that Tsipras tried hard to overturn the situation and extradite them”, writes columnist Serkan Dermitas.

Under these circumstances, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the latter’s presidential palace, also known as the “Sultan’s Palace” at 4.45pm.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will attend a dinner held in honour of the Greek PM, an unprecedented move, as this is the first time that Ankara invites the Ecumenical Patriarch at an official dinner.