Greek court rejects extradition of suspect links to bombings

A Greek court has refused a demand by Ankara for the extradition of suspected Naci Özpolat who has been wanted over links to a far-left terror group blamed for suicide bombings.

A Greek court on Tuesday rejected a request by Ankara for the extradition of a man wanted over links to a terror group blamed for suicide bombings in Turkey, court officials said.

Naci Özpolat, 48, a Turkish national of Kurdish origin, is one of nine people detained by Greece's anti-terrorism service in November, weeks before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Greece in December.

Turkey wants three of them extradited over alleged links to a far-left group blamed for attacks and suicide bombings there since 1990.

Following the ruling, he was transferred back to a Greek prison where he is being held pending trial on domestic charges including possession of firearms.

Greece has charged the nine detainees with setting up and belonging to a criminal organisation, terrorist-related acts of supplying explosive materials, and with illegal possession of firearms, smoke bombs and firecrackers.

Last month, a Greek court ruled against the extradition of 60-year old Mehmet Doğan, saying he had been granted political asylum in France in 2011. That decision angered Turkey which accused Greek courts of protecting terrorists and acting in a way that "does not befit neighbourly behaviour."

The two NATO allies, which almost went to war in 1996, have seen renewed diplomatic strain over natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean and the fate of eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after a failed coup in Turkey.

Two Greek soldiers were detained last week after crossing the border into Turkey in bad weather.

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