by Georgia Logothetis, Managing Director
Great news out of Greece t0day:
Greece’s Supreme Court has ruled against extraditing eight Turkish soldiers whom the Turkish government accuses of being involved in last July’s attempted coup.
The eight men fled in a helicopter to Greece after the coup attempt but say they were not involved.
Presiding judge Giorgos Sakkas said the men were unlikely to receive a fair trial in Turkey.
The Turkish government, predictably, is throwing a fit:
“Once again Greece, an ally and a neighbor, has failed to fulfill the basics of the fight against terrorism,” it said, accusing Athens of also harboring far-leftist and Kurdish militant groups that have carried out attacks in Turkey.
The reality is that Turkey’s court system is in shambles. First, Turkey may well reintroduce the death penalty for alleged coup plotters. Second, Turkish President Erdogan has fired 4,000 judges and state prosecutors since the failed coup and has jailed another 3,000. After decimating the country’s court system, what’s the next step? Appointing student teachers as judges. Yes, really:
In order to fill the gaps left by these mass firings, quick confirmations have taken place to appoint student teachers as judges. Legal representatives say that those teachers’ lack of essential training and experience has overtaxed many of them. […]
“As a lawyer, there is little I can do about these abuses, because the justice system is broken. There is no rule of law at the moment. I could walk out of here and be arrested,” said Turkdogan while meeting with a delegation of the German Bar Association (DAV).
A lot can be said about incompetence and chaos in the Greek government since the economic crisis rocked Greece, but despite political uncertainty and unprecedented austerity measures, Greek democracy has held strong. Its Supreme Court has upheld the rule of law. The judicial system, though flawed (especially at the trial level and administratively), still adheres to basic democratic standards. The same cannot be said for Turkey, which has seen its democracy erode away under a sea of authoritarian measures. There is no judicial branch in Turkey. There is the shell of a judicial branch, under the thumb of an Islamofascist leader, led by amateurs. Greece’s Supreme Court was absolutely correct in refusing to extradite the Turkish soldiers into that toxic environment. The more Turkey’s democratic downfall continues, the more incumbent it is upon democracies like Greece to hold true to basic values of justice and the rule of law.