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Top Greek court rules for extradition of Erdoğan foe to Turkey

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The top appeals court of Greece has rejected an appeal filed by a Turkish businessman, a political enemy of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, against a lower court’s decision to extradite him to Turkey and complied with Turkey’s demand for his extradition, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

The 54-year-old businessman Ali Yeşildağ will be sent back to Turkey if Greek Justice Minister Giorgos Floridis approves of his extradition.

The Supreme Court of Greece made its decision during a session on Wednesday.

Yeşildağ and his family are allegedly considering the possibility of filing another appeal to the Greek Council of State against the ministerial decision for extradition.

The top Greek court’s decision about the Turkish businessman comes at a time when Erdoğan is trying to improve relations with the neighboring country following a period of tension marked by disputes over migration, energy exploration in the Aegean and territorial sovereignty.

He visited Greece in December when both countries signed a non-binding declaration of friendship, which said the two states would refrain from aggressive statements and take steps to reduce military tension.

Yeşildağ fled from Turkey to Greece in November to avoid prosecution due to his revelations about alleged corruption and criminal activities involving Erdoğan and his family and government.

He was detained by Greek police in Evros on November 17 trying to enter Greece illegally. Greek police officers found that he had a pending Turkish Interpol warrant against him for robbery and homicide allegedly committed in 1986 when he was 17 years old.

On January 10, a local court in Greece ruled for Yeşildağ’s extradition to Turkey in addition to his arrest. The businessman appealed the decision.

The Yeşildağ family has a longstanding relationship with Erdoğan. Hasan Yeşildağ, the eldest brother, served as Erdoğan’s bodyguard during the latter’s imprisonment in 1999. Ali Yeşildağ parted ways with Erdoğan and his own family later due to disagreements.

Yeşildağ came to public attention with the seven videos he had had posted on the YouTube account of investigative journalist Cevheri Güven in the run-up-to the general election in May.

He made explosive revelations how the Erdoğan family made hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains through front companies that on paper were run by their cronies but in reality belonged to themselves.

Yeşildağ was targeted by the government after his videos attracted widespread attention on social media and an investigation was launched into him by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on charges of terrorist organization membership.

In one of his videos Yeşildağ accused Erdoğan of siphoning off $1 billion from a public tender for the operation of an airport in the country’s Antalya province.

He claimed Erdoğan manipulated the tender to ensure that the contract was awarded to a company owned by one of his close associates, who then channeled a portion of the funds to Erdoğan.

In another video, Yeşildağ revealed a corruption scheme involving the misappropriation of $3.5 billion worth of European Union funds earmarked for the improvement of Turkey’s agriculture sector. He alleged that then-minister of agriculture Mehdi Eker, along with his family and close associates, established a network of shell companies to divert the funds for their personal enrichment.

Yeşildağ asserted that he is only sharing information about instances of corruption in which he was personally involved or has firsthand knowledge. He promised to reveal more in future videos, stating that “you will vomit in the future.”

 

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