July 19, 2016 / 1:04 PM / 3 years ago

Not returning Turkish soldiers will not help relations with Greece: Turkish ambassador

Two of the eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece in a helicopter and requested political asylum after a failed military coup against the government, are brought to prosecutor by two policemen in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis, Greece, July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Giannis Moisiadis/Intimenews

ATHENS (Reuters) - Turkey’s ambassador to Athens said on Tuesday that not extraditing the eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after a failed military coup on the weekend would not help bilateral relation between the two neighbors.

Relations between the NATO allies have warmed in recent years but they have a long history of enmity and a longstanding dispute over territorial borders in the Aegean, with warplanes from both sides regularly engaging in mock dogfights.

Territorial disputes almost provoked a war between Greece and Turkey in 1996 over tiny uninhabited islets.

The soldiers have requested political asylum in Greece and the Greek government has told Ankara the process will be swift but stick strictly to international law and human rights treaties.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Writing by Karolina Tagaris

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