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Greek Court Denies Extradition Request for Turkish Soldiers

Policemen stand atop military armored vehicles after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016.

A Greek court has rejected an extradition request from Turkey for two Turkish soldiers accused by Ankara of involvement in July's failed coup.

The two soldiers were the last to receive rulings in their extradition cases among a group of eight helicopter crewmen who fled to Greece the day after the coup attempt because they said they would not receive a fair trial in Turkey.

The ruling comes just two days after other judges in the same court approved the extradition of three officers.

The extradition requests for the first three soldiers was also denied. All the soldiers claim they are innocent.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracked down on journalists, academics, the military, and civilian government employees, following the July coup attempt.

More than 100,000 people have been removed from their jobs since government forces blocked the coup attempt. More than 35,000 others, including military officers and opposition politicians, have been arrested for suspected collusion with the coup plotters.

Erdogan has accused U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of plotting the coup, and vowed to bring Gulen to justice.

Gulen, a former Erdogan ally in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied involvement in the coup attempt.