Gen. Erdal Ozturk
• Eight rebel officers flee to Greece
• Over 250 dead, 1,440 injured in botched takeover
• President: They will pay a heavy price for their treason
Istanbul’s most senior soldier has been charged with treason as eight leading members of the plot to overthrow the government fled to Greece.
General Erdal Ozturk who commanded the Third Army Corps has been detained and is facing treason charges for his role in the aborted coup.
His men attempted to seize strategic locations across Istanbul last night when they were confronted by thousands of unarmed civilians who came out in support of President Recep Erdogan.
Erdogan has suggested the ringleaders could face the death penalty even though Turkey abolished capital punishment as part of its attempts to join the European Union.
Turkish officials have said 161 civilians have killed and 1,440 wounded.
Almost 2,900 troops have been arrested, including at least two generals.
Eight soldiers landed in Alexandroupolis today and tried to claim asylum in the EU state, after a coup in neigbouring Turkey that left more than 250 people dead.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu immediately demanded that the captain, two majors and five privates were returned ‘immediately’ to Turkey where they would face punishment.
Two majors, a captain and five privates have landed in the EU nation in a military helicopter today, according to Turkish Dogan news agency
Greece claimed it would have to consider international laws before returning them, although it promised to send the helicopter back.
However, Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that Greece has now promised to return the ‘treacherous soldiers’ to be punished in Turkey.
The news comes after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim said the nation would consider bringing back the death penalty to deal with them, after it was abolished in 2004.
The blackhawk helicopter landed in Greece today after a night of violence in Istanbul, where more than 1,500 people were injured.
Some 104 plotters were killed, while more than 200 people – at least 41 of them police officers and 47 civilians – fell as ‘martyrs’.
Footage shows Greek officials leading the men out in handcuffs after they were arrested for illegal entry into Greece.
A spokeswoman for Greece, Olga Gerovasili, today said that they are in contact with Turkish authorities and will arrange ‘the return of the military helicopter as soon as possible’.
As for the eight military passengers, she said: ‘We will follow the procedures of international law.
‘However, we give very serious considerations to the fact that (the Turkish military men) are accused, in their country, of violating the constitutional order and trying to overthrow democracy.’
Greek police say that the eight arrested Turks include two majors, four captains and two sergeants first class.
This differs from Turkish sources that said they were two majors, a captain sand five privates.
Last night, the army had told people to stay indoors so that they could depose President Erdogan, but they were met by civilians who confronted them, defending the government.
Ordinary Turks confronted rifle-wielding soldiers, climbed atop tanks and laid in front of military vehicles in an effort to take back control of the country.
President Erdogan called on people to take to the streets, leading to reports of groups of soldiers surrendering at several key locations in Ankara and Istanbul, including Bosphorus Bridge. The Nation