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Greek Court Temporarily Freezes Asylum to Turkish Soldier

FILE - Four Turkish military officers in suits wearing handcuffs, center, escorted by Greek plainclothes police officers, arrive at the Supreme Court in Athens, Jan. 13, 2017.

Greece won on Monday a temporary injunction freezing asylum granted to a Turkish soldier who fled with seven others to the country after a botched coup attempt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.

An appeals court in Athens upheld a request by the Greek government to freeze the asylum status granted by an independent asylum council on Dec. 29. The same council had rejected asylum requests filed by the seven other soldiers.

The court said it was granting the order "for reasons of public interest" until a formal court hearing is scheduled against the asylum board's decision on Feb. 15.

Turkey has demanded the extradition of the soldiers, which it has branded as traitors.

The asylum board's decision exposed tense relations between the two countries which have long been at odds over a host of regional issues. On filing its appeal, the Greek government said it thought matters of such political importance should be determined by the courts.